Category Archives: Roffending
More than a quarter of criminals spared jail or recently released from custody have reoffended within a year, new figures show.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has revealed almost 170,000 criminals out of 630,000 released from prison, cautioned or given a non-custodial sentence between July 2010 and June 2011 went on to commit another offence over the next 12 months.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said he would continue “toughening penalties” to tackle the reoffending rate after it rose by 0.5 of a percentage point on the previous year.
Mr Grayling said: “We can’t go on seeing reoffending rates at this level and rising.
“That’s why we’re both toughening penalties and pressing ahead with radical reform of how we mentor and rehabilitate offenders to stop the revolving door of the criminal justice system.”
Almost 500,000 offences were committed by criminals who were released from prison or given non-custodial sentences between July 2010 and June 2011.
More than half (56%) were committed by criminals with 11 or more previous offences.
Around 3,300 of the crimes were of a serious violent or sexual nature, the MoJ said.
The figures for England and Wales were published today in the MoJ’s quarterly proven re-offending statistics.
They cover offenders who were released from custody, were given a non-custodial conviction at court, received a caution, reprimand, warning or tested positive for opiates or cocaine between July 2010 and June 2011.
Nearly 69% of criminals with 11 or more prison sentences went on to reoffend, an increase of 2.3 percentage points from the previous year, the MoJ said.
Reoffending rates for prisoners serving less than 12 months also rose by 1.3 percentage points to 58.2%, while the rate for those given community orders rose 0.5 percentage points to 35.8%.
Meanwhile, the number of criminals aged 40 and above who reoffended has more than doubled over the last decade, according to the figures.
Some 18,200 offenders aged 40 to 49 committed crimes after being spared jail or released from custody between July 2010 and June 2011, compared with more than 8,000 in the year 2000.
Around 5,700 criminals aged 50 or above also reoffended following their release in the same period, compared with nearly 2,800 in the year 2000.
Reoffending could rise because of cuts to prisoner management services, an influential committee of MPs said today.
The Public Accounts Committee praised the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) for successfully slashing £230 million from its spending in 2011/12.
But the committee, chaired by Labour MP Margaret Hodge, raised serious questions over whether a further £650 million could be saved from its current £3.4 billion budget by 2015.
Mrs Hodge said the current plans to save the money were dependent on redundancies the agency cannot currently fund and the stability of the prison population, which it cannot control.
And she said: “There is also a risk that reduced numbers will result in staff being taken off offender management programmes to cover duty on prison wings.
“This means that training and rehabilitation activities could suffer, even though we know these reduce reoffending after release.
“The agency needs to seriously consider the long-term consequences of short-term cuts.”
Mrs Hodge said there were further concerns about the safety of prisoners and the fact overcrowding has become institutionalised.
In evidence to the committee, NOMS said savings would be found as older, expensive prisons are replaced by modern facilities.
But the MPs on the committee, which is cross-party, said this was based on the assumption overall prisoner numbers would not increase from the current level of about 86,000.
Mrs Hodge said her committee concluded a rethink of prison policy was needed.
“Given that the current prison population is the maximum it considers safe, the Agency should look again at the consequences of closing these prisons,” she said.
“The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is now consulting on plans to put the majority of services currently provided by probation trusts out to competition.
“But probation trusts don’t have the skills they need to get the best deal out of contracting services. For example, we received evidence suggesting that the UK is paying 60% more for electronic monitoring than the US.
“The MoJ needs to work with probation trusts to ensure that the taxpayer isn’t paying over the odds to the private sector.”
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Running prisons that are safe, decent and secure is a priority. We will continue to drive down running costs by replacing old prisonaccommodation with new places that are better value for money and provide better opportunities to reduce reoffending.
“NOMS will meet its savings target for 2012/13 of £246m while maintaining its overall performance.
“Our transforming rehabilitation proposals will change the way we deal with offenders on release and help us to stop the depressing revolving door of reoffending. Our plans do not involve probation trusts having an expanded role in commissioning.”
Mark Leech, editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners said: “Do they really think we are stupid?
“How can you cut over two hundred and forty million pounds from a budget and expect that organisation will maintain its overall performance – especially when that comes on top of over two hundred and thirty million pound cuts the previous year?
“In that atmosphere it is inevitable that already attenuated prison regimes will shrink further, and the effects of that will be seen on increased reoffending rates – our prisons have become a dumping destination rather than the rehabilitative journey they ought to be.”
UPDATED: The challenge faced by the Government in tackling reoffending was underlined today by figures that revealed a further rise in the number of criminals returning to crime.
More than one in four criminals reoffended within a year, according to the most recent Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures, committing 500,000 offences between them.
This equates to a reoffending rate of 26.8%, up from 26.3% in the previous set of figures.
Around 280,000 offences were committed by criminals with 11 or more previous offences, while more than 50,000 of these were committed by nearly 11,000 criminals who had previously been jailed at least 11 times.
There was also a notable rise in the proportion of criminals handed prison sentences of less than 12 months who reoffend, which increased from 56.6% to 57.8%.
The figures for the period between April 2010 and March 2011 come after Justice Secretary Chris Grayling unveiled a major shake-up of rehabilitation.
Lower-risk offenders are to be supervised by private firms and charities on a payment by results basis, while prisoners serving sentences under 12 months will be forced to undertake a period of rehabilitation upon release for the first time.
Mr Grayling said: “These figures underline why transforming the way we rehabilitate offenders is now a big priority for us. Reoffending rates have barely changed in a decade, and are now rising.
“We are now pressing ahead with major reforms that are designed to tackle this unacceptable problem.”
A total of 495,162 offences were committed by 171,949 offenders, 82% of whom were adults, within a year of them being released from jail, convicted, cautioned or warned over drugs in the period.
Some 3,300 were serious violent or sexual offences by 2,800 offenders.
For criminals leaving jail, the reoffending rate was 47.2% in the period, up from 46.9% the previous year.
The biggest increases in re-offending were among juvenile females and 40 to 49-year-olds.
The biggest falls in re-offending were among adult females, 21 to 24-year-olds, adults who received court orders and adults who received prison sentences between 12 months and four years.
Almost two thirds of serious repeat offenders avoided a fresh prison sentence for newly committed crimes last year, a new report claims.
The Centre for Crime Prevention research, which the Ministry of Justice said was “highly selective”, said 91,032 criminals with at least ten previous convictions avoided being sent to prison in the 2011-2012 financial year, 64.9% of the 140,168 freshly found guilty of a crime.
The figure amounts to more than the current prison population of the UK of 83,825 and the report claims offenders received fines, community service or a fully suspended sentence for crimes including violence against the person, theft and sexual offences.
Peter Cuthbertson, the centre’s chief executive and the report author, said: “These figures show the appalling failure of soft sentencing.
“Fines, community service and suspended sentences leave criminals free to commit more crimes. They should be reserved for minor offenders. “But these figures show they are the only punishment for tens of thousands of hardened criminals every year.”
The report claims that in 2011/2012 68,100 out of 108,119 offenders with more than 15 previous convictions, some 62.9%, received a penalty other than prison.
This was compared to 49,729 in 2006/07, an increase of 38%.
It said number of fully suspended sentences increased 31-fold for offenders with 15 or more previous convictions/cautions in the decade from 2001/02, from 270 to 8,284.
The report said 11,810 serious offenders received with 15 or more previous convictions received discharges and 20,879 received a community.
Some 16,111 received a fine.
Of those who did go to prison, the report claimed, the average sentence was one year and five months.
Mr Cuthbertson said the Government’s proposal to close several prisons and build a new “super-prison”, announced last week by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, was “a step in the right direction”.
The closures will see some 2,600 inmate places cut, with six prisons shut by the end of March and three jails partially closed as part of a far-reaching overhaul that could put more than 1,000 jobs at risk.
The drop in inmate places will be offset by four new mini-prisons, with room for 1,260 offenders, while a feasibility study for a 2,000 capacity super-prison was launched.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the CCP figures did not paint the full picture.
“These figures are highly selective,” he said.
“They fail to recognise that the average prison sentence length has increased by more than a year in the past decade and the use of out of court disposals is down by nearly 40%.
“Criminals should be in no doubt they will be punished for their crimes and those who commit the most serious offences will receive severe sentences.”
Converse, the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales: read it here
One in four criminals went straight back to crime and committed almost 500,000 offences between them last year latest figures have shown – and which the national prisoners’ newspaper Converse describes as ‘only to be expected’.
More than half of the offences were committed by offenders with 11 or more previous offences to their name, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures showed.
And more than 50,000 of these were committed by 10,000 criminals who had previously been jailed at least 11 times.
The figures were released as David Cameron and Justice Secretary Chris Grayling have promised a rehabilitation revolution to bring down a one-year reoffending rate which now stands at 26.7%.
A total of 497,969 offences were committed by 173,274 offenders, four-fifths of whom were adults, within a year of them being released from jail, convicted, cautioned or warned over drugs in 2010, the figures showed.
And 3,275 of these were serious violent or sexual offences committed by 2,901 criminals.
Mark Leech editor of Converse, the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said: “Well what do you expect?
“We release around 120,000 prisoners a year, we give them a £46 ‘discharge grant’ which is less than one week of income suport on release, then we ban them from accessing the benefits system for a fortnight and throw up our hands in horror when they reoffend and call for even longer sentences – such insane policies does not reduce reoffending so much as incite it.”
The figures also showed 275,478 (55.3%) of the offences were committed by 78,149 offenders with 11 or more previous offences and 50,123 of these involved 10,427 offenders who had previously been jailed 11 or more times.
Overall, the reoffending rate in England and Wales rose slightly by 0.4% over the past year, but was down from 27.9% in 2000 to 26.7% in 2010.
For criminals leaving jail, the reoffending rate was 47.5%, up from 46.8% in 2009, while for adults who were given short sentences and jailed for less than 12 months, it rose to 57.6% in 2010 from 56.8% the previous year.
A MoJ spokeswoman said: “We are tackling the shamefully high reoffending rates in this country by introducing a rehabilitation revolution – offenders must be punished, but we must also deal with the root causes of offenders’ behaviour so they don’t return to crime.”
The Prime Minister said earlier this week that all but a small number of high-risk prisoners would receive help to turn their lives around and break the cycle of reoffending by the end of 2015.
Prison would also be a punishment and places of “meaningful, hard work where offenders are given the right mix of skills and support to help them find a job on release”, the MoJ spokeswoman said.
And high-tech ankle tags would be used to track offenders from next year while almost all community sentences would include some form of punishment, she added.
Hartlepool has the worst reoffending rate at 36.3%, more than twice that in Rutland where it stood at 17.3%, the figures showed.
A total of 150 violent criminals and sex offenders are at large in the community despite breaching the terms of their release or committing another offence, separate MoJ figures showed.
Some 976 criminals had been recalled to prison but not put back behind bars by the end of September, down from 988 in June.
These include 16 killers – 15 of them murderers – 11 rapists and at least three paedophiles.
Some 395 have been on the run for more than five years, the figures showed.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Over the last 10 years, in over 99% of cases where an offender has been recalled, the individual has successfully been returned to custody.
“Having a system that allows offenders to be recalled to custody if they breach their licence conditions is key to protecting the public.”
Dangerous offenders were charged with 145 murders, rapes and other serious offences while being monitored by the authorities in 2011/12, other figures showed.
These included seven who were already considered to be among the most dangerous offenders and 22 who were managed at level two with regular multi-agency meetings, the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) annual report for 2011/12 showed.
The number of registered sex offenders also rose, up 8.4% from 37,225 in 2010/11 to 40,345 last year.
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “Public protection is our priority – we have some of the toughest measures in the world to manage violent and sexual offenders in the community.
“While risk can never be eliminated entirely, when criminal justice agencies work together they are able to deliver more effective punishment with a greater focus on rehabilitation and better protect the public.
“This Government is committed to supporting criminal justice agencies to reduce the level of serious further offending. Mappa are a world leading approach and one of our most effective tools to prevent serious further offences.”
Javed Khan, chief executive of Victim Support, said: “It is appalling that 170,000 offenders went straight back to crime within a year of being in jail, convicted or cautioned.
“We support hundreds of victims of crime every day and one of their main worries is that the offender doesn’t do it again.”
He went on: “We hope that Government plans to emphasise rehabilitation as well as punishment are successful in cutting reoffending and help offenders to understand the impact of their actions on victims.”
Vicki Helyar-Cardwell, director of the Criminal Justice Alliance which represents almost 70 organisations, said: “Today’s statistics show that reoffending rates remain stubbornly high and a major concern for the criminal justice system.
“High reoffending rates for people in prison serving less than 12 months confirm that short sentences continue to be a waste of public money and harmful to communities.
“Numerous short periods in prison without rehabilitation can lock people into a revolving door of crime.
“Research shows that, even when characteristics and offending history are taken into account, community sentences produce reoffending rates at least 8% lower than short term custodial sentences.”
She went on: “Concerns remain about the effect overcrowding has on the ability of prisons to successfully rehabilitate offenders.”
Converse, the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales: read it here
The number of hardened criminals reoffending is at a record high while the number of first-time offenders has dropped in England and Wales.
The latest criminal justice statistics show nearly a third (31.2%) of defendants convicted of serious offences (crown court offences) last year had 15 or more previous convictions or cautions.
The number is the highest since 2001 when it was 17.9% and has risen steadily.
The Ministry of Justice’s quarterly update also showed 10.1% of offenders convicted of indictable offences in 2011 had no previous criminal offences.
The 31.2% figure with 15 or more previous convictions was an increase of 13.3% since 2001.
While the number of people with 15 or more convictions or cautions has risen steadily, the number of first time offenders has dropped since 2001 – from 11.9% to 10.1% in 2011.
Iain Bell, chief statistician for the Ministry of Justice, said: “The proportion of offenders who have either been cautioned or convicted who have 15 or more previous offences is rising.”
While today’s figures show the record high, the number of other repeat offenders sentenced for indictable offences has fallen.
The disorder that swept across the country last August after riots began in London made very little impact on the offending figures, said Mr Bell.
The information shows that 85,200 people were sentenced to immediate custody for indictable offences – an increase of 2.8% since 2010, and the highest since 2002.
But there was a 13.5% drop in the number of indeterminate sentences – life sentences or indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs).
But of those, the number of life sentences increased slightly from 384 in 2010 to 395 in 2011 – the first annual increase since 2008.
The drop in indeterminate sentences comes alongside a 30.5% rise in the number of long determinate sentences of 10 years or more.
According to the Sentencing Council’s Crown Court Sentencing Survey, also released today, “only a small proportion of offenders sentenced to an IPP have been released at the end of the minimum term tariff”.
For Category One criminals who have committed the most harmful offences the average time spent behind bars from 2011 figures was seven years and eight months.
But the researchers said fewer than 10% of parole board meetings at the minimum term’s conclusion resulted in the prisoner being freed.
“Therefore, the actual amount of time spent in prison is likely to be higher (than seven years eight months)”.
The average amount of time people were sent to jail for has risen on average by a month – from 13.7 months in 2010 to 14.7 in 2011. It was 11.8 months in 2001.
The Ministry of Justice said the average custodial sentence length (ACSL) for indictable offences rose by a month to 17.2 months – the highest in a decade.
Sentence lengths rose for violent crimes and sex offences.
Last year people were jailed for an average of 18.8 months for crimes of violence against the person, compared to 17.8 months the previous year.
And for sexual offences the average sentence rose from 48.7 months in 2010 to 53.2 last year.
Also, in 2011 the number sent to immediate custody rose 1.2% from 101,500 to 102,700 – but it was 8% lower than the peak of 2002 when 111,600 were immediately jailed.
Another headline figure was that juvenile first time “entrants” were down 21.2% since 2010 – and 64.7% from the peak number in 2006.
The smooth running of courts is often disrupted by failure of defendants on bail to attend – borne out by the latest figures.
Last year around 76,100 (4.7%) accused failed to appear before magistrates.
And the number of failed appearances at crown court shot up 19.2% from 2,600 in 2010 to 3,100 last year causing case delays and unnecessary costs.
Among the statistics, it emerged there was an 11% increase last year for the number of cautions given to sex offenders.
There were 1,364 cautions given in 2010 and 1,532 last year.
There was also a rise in the number of convictions for sex offences, from 5,788 in 2010 to 5,977 last year when there were 9,919 proceedings brought.