Published: September 30, 2019

De Rooy, K., Bennett, S., & Sydes, M. (2019). Women Released From Custody: Investigating Risk Factors and Reoffending. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology.


Kathleen De Rooy, Sarah Bennett, and Michelle Sydes.


This article draws on life-course and desistance theory to explore the relationship between the factors of age, ethnicity, offence type, and incarceration history for a sample of 1,035 women released from custody between January 2013 and January 2014, data gathered from the Australian Queensland Corrective Services administrative dataset. It also explores their impact on recidivism and the time between release and reoffending (known as “time to failure”) until September 2017. The data indicate substantial rates of reoffending with 70% of the sample reoffending (a return to custody/parole/probation) within the 2- to 4-year observation period. Notably, 50% of women reoffended in their first year post-release, 36% within 6 months, and 23% within the first 3 months. Regression results show that violent offenders are considerably more likely to be recidivists and older offenders are less likely to be recidivists; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders were also more likely to reoffend. Incarceration history is significantly associated with reoffending and “time to failure”. It is clear that there needs to be increased intervention and support for female offenders during the first 2 years post-release from custody. This is particularly important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and those with an extensive history of incarceration.