Adults who left prison in 2010 after serving less than a year behind bars went on to commit more than 80,000 crimes in the 12 months following their release, new figures revealed.
The Ministry of Justice found that 83,107 crimes were carried out by those who were in jail for less than 12 months, compared with 3,346 by those in prison for four years or more.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling blamed a lack of support and supervision for released prisoners for the reoffending rates, and vowed to bring about substantial changes to help break the “depressing cycle of offending”.
The statistics showed that those released in 2010 after less than 12 months in prison were responsible for 29,098 thefts, 10,494 violent crimes and 3,862 burglaries.
These dropped to 605 thefts, 472 violent crimes and 492 burglaries in the 12 months after release for those who served four years or more.
Prisoners jailed for less than a year also committed 460 sexual crimes and 51 sexual crimes against children, figures which dropped to 71 sexual crimes and 31 sexual crimes against children for those released after four or more years.
The statistics come after it was announced last week that criminals who had previously been jailed for at least a year were responsible for 208,699 offences in the 12 months up to September 2012 – including more than 35,000 violent crimes, nearly 66,000 burglaries, robberies and thefts and more than 6,500 sexual offences.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said of the most recent statistics: “These figures show that it is the very people who are most likely to reoffend are the ones who are at present let out of prison without any sort of supervision and without any sort of support other than £46 in their pocket.
“Is it any wonder that so many of them just end up going round and round the criminal justice system in a depressing cycle of offending.
“It is clear the way we do things have to change, and I’ll be setting out shortly how we do just that.”
Earlier this year Mr Grayling unveiled plans to revamp the rehabilitation of former prisoners by allowing private firms to take on contracts on a payment-by-results basis.
Reforms could be introduced in today’s Queen’s Speech.
Mark Leech, editor of Converse the national prisons newspapers said it was Government policy which incited reoffending.
“We release about 130,000 prisoners a year and give to each a small amount of money called a Discharge Grant – in real terms its about forty-six pounds, or less than ONE week of income support.
“We then ban former prisoners from claiming benefits for TWO weeks, and throw our hands up in horror when they turn to crime to survive.
“It is this insane government policy that incites reoffending, and its nothing new – they’ve known about this since a Government report in 2002 and yet nothing has changed.”
Mr Leech also commented that supervising those serving under 12 months was a ‘red herring’ which would achieve little.
“Those serving under 12 months are typically drug offenders, committing opportunistic acquisitive crime to fund drug habits, when caught they are sentenced to short term sentences because that is what the crimes they commit warrant.
“Putting them on probation supervision is a red herring, it will only stretch an already over-burdened Probation Service even further and achieve little in terms of reducing their offending – so much of what this Coalition Government has done is about the appearance of progress rather than the delivery of it.”