In the Media

Convicted offenders committed 510,000 crimes within a year

PUBLISHED October 27, 2011

? Government figures show 26% proven reoffending rate ? Prison with lowest rate in 2009 was closed in September More than 180,000 convicted offenders went on to commit a combined 510,000 offences within a year, according to the first detailed official figures revealing the scale of reoffending in England and Wales. The Ministry of Justice figures show there was an average 26% proven reoffending rate for the 700,000 criminals who were convicted or cautioned in 2009. More than half of the extra offences were committed by career criminals each with more than 25 previous offences to their name. The official reoffending figures reveal for the first time that the prison with the lowest reoffending rate for long-term inmates ? 6% ? was Latchmere House in Richmond, London, which was closed in September. The prison with the highest reoffending rates for short-term prisoners was Hindley, in Wigan, at 87% in 2009. Hartlepool was named as the local authority area with the highest proven reoffending rate in the country at 36%; this figure includes convictions and cautions. Overall, reoffending rates have fallen over the past decade. Adults serving prison sentences of less than 12 months have an average reoffending rate of 57%. This compares with 38% for those sentenced to one to four years, and 34% for those serving community punishments. Among probation trusts, the biggest falls in reoffending rates since 2005 were in Staffordshire, West Midlands and West Yorkshire. The largest increases were in Hertfordshire and Merseyside. New figures for released serious violent and sex offenders who are under probation supervision show that 134 went on to commit further serious offences in the last 12 months. This was a reduction from 196 the previous year but included three offenders who were under level 3 supervision, the most serious category. One is believed to have been a convicted rapist in Bristol who went on to strike again after his recent release, despite being monitored by the police and probation services. Eight further serious case reviews were launched last year into cases in which offenders under multi-agency public protection arrangements were found to have committed further crimes, including murder, rape or sexual assault. The statistics show 96 released prisoners are "unlawfully at large" after failing to return to prison in the last year despite being recalled for breaching the terms of their licences. Since 1984, a total of 950 ex-prisoners have gone on the run and returned to prison, including 17 murderers. The proven reoffending rate is a new measure based on new convictions and cautions within 12 months of an offender's previous conviction or caution. The prisons and probation minister, Crispin Blunt, said the figures showed that reoffending rates remained unacceptably high and underlined the need for urgent reform of the system. "That is why we are introducing tougher sentences that properly punish offenders while addressing the root causes of their behaviour," said Blunt. "We are also exploring the use of payment by results in both prison and the community, targeting improved reductions in reoffending and paying for what works." He said the individual reoffending rates for each prison and probation trust would not be used as performance measures. Prisons and probation UK criminal justice Crime Alan Travis © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds