Prison fence

Image: H Michael Karshis (Flickr)

How likely is it that murderers will re-offend?

23rd August 2017

Popular perceptions about the recidivism of homicide offenders are contradictory, varying from one extreme – that such offenders rarely commit further violent offences – to the opposite, where it is thought that they remain at a high risk of serious reoffending.

This latest research from RegNet’s Rod Broadhurst and Ross Maller from the Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics, draws on the records of 1088 persons arrested in Western Australia over the period 1984–2005 for domestic murders and other types of homicides (robbery and sexual murder), including attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, manslaughter (unintentional homicide) and (dangerous) driving causing death.

Prof Broadhurst and his collaborators estimate that those arrested for a murder and subsequently released have a probability of 0.66 of being arrested for another offence of any type (or a 66% likelihood of reoffending).

Those originally arrested for manslaughter or for (dangerous) driving causing death have a probability of 0.43 of being arrested for another offence of any type (or a 43% likelihood of reoffending).

Interestingly, of the 1088 persons, only 3 were subsequently arrested and charged with a homicide offence event in the follow-up period (which was up to 22 years).

These findings should be of interest to courts and correctional agencies in assessing risk at various stages of the administration of criminal justice.

You can access the publication in full on the Sage website.

Professor Rod Broadhurst is teaching into the new Master of Criminology, Justice and Regulation - now taking applications for semester one, 2018.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet