Figures published from the Ministry of Justice last week show that whilst the number of people entering the criminal justice system is falling, re-offending rates are increasing dramatically.
Between October 2010 and September 2011, around 620,000 offenders were cautioned, convicted (excluding immediate custodial sentences) or released from custody. Around 170,000 of these offenders committed a proven re-offence within a year. This gives a one year proven re-offending rate of 26.9 per cent, which represents a rise of 0.4 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months.
For those short term prisoners (ie. those sentenced to imprisonment for less than 12 months) more than 50% had re-offended within the period of 12 months from their release up until September 2011. This represents an increase of 1.2% from the previous year.
The figures show that the number of new offenders appearing before the court is falling but the percentage of those receiving custodial sentences is increasing. The introduction of new extended determinate sentences has led to a rise in the use of longer sentences, the Ministry of Justice has stated, with a 13% increase in the use of longer sentences.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“These figures make a compelling case for our important reforms – re-offending rates remaining doggedly high as a hardcore of offenders continue to cause misery in communities up and down the country.
“Where we are seeing real improvements in tackling this problem is our through the gate Payment by Results pilots, an approach I want to see rolled out across England and Wales by 2015.
“I am also encouraged to see judges taking advantage of our new tough Extended Determinate Sentences.”
The older and somewhat confusing IPP sentencing regime has been abandoned and replaced with a new regime of longer supervision by the Probation Service after release from custody as well as offenders facing a mandatory life sentence where two serious sexual or violent crimes have been committed previously.