n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - First-time offenders versus recidivists : demographic-risk variables

Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



This article attempts to isolate risk and demographic variables which discriminate between first-time offenders and re-offenders. For this purpose a representative sample of 175 male offenders from the population of sentenced offenders at the Mangaung Correctional Centre near Bloemfontein was used: 81 (46.3%) were first-time offenders and 94 (53.7%) were re-offenders. The study specifically sets out to identify the main demographic and risk variables (including, amongst others, low education, being raised by someone other than one's parent, serving long sentences, peers' being involved in crime, and alcohol/drug abuse) and how they are linked to the risk of future recidivism. Significant differences emerged between first-time offenders and re-offenders both in demographic and risk variables. This study highlights the potential of these variables to predict future criminal behaviour.

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