Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVES: To systematically review recidivism rates internationally, report whether they are comparable and, on the basis of this, develop best reporting guidelines for recidivism. METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, Google Web, and Google Scholar search engines for recidivism rates around the world, using both non-country-specific searches as well as targeted searches for the 20 countries with the largest total prison populations worldwide. RESULTS: We identified recidivism data for 18 countries. Of the 20 countries with the largest prison populations, only 2 reported repeat offending rates. The most commonly reported outcome was 2-year reconviction rates in prisoners. Sample selection and definitions of recidivism varied widely, and few countries were comparable. CONCLUSIONS: Recidivism data are currently not valid for international comparisons. Justice Departments should consider using the reporting guidelines developed in this paper to report their data.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Criminal Behavior, Criminals, Humans, Prisons