Press release

Reoffending is up while fewer people enter the criminal justice system

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

While the number of people entering the criminal justice system is falling a hardcore group continue to reoffend at an alarming rate, latest figures show.

More than 400,000 crimes were committed by those who had broken the law before, in the year up to September 2011.

For those sentenced to less than 12 months, 58.5 per cent had reoffended within 12 months of their release up to September 2011 – this is 1.2 percentage points up on the previous year.

While the number of offenders coming to court is falling, alongside falling crime rates, more people who do commit crime are receiving prison sentences, according to recent figures.

Statistics published today also show a sharp rise in the use of longer sentences, with a 16 per cent increase following the introduction of new Extended Determinate Sentences.

Alongside these figures, a through the gate Payment by Results pilot in Peterborough, showcasing a new way of rehabilitating offenders that will soon be rolled out across England and Wales, revealed marked falls in reconvictions.

Before the pilot, for every 100 prisoners released from Peterborough we were seeing 84 reconviction events. Under the pilot this figure has fallen to 78 – a fall of eight per cent. Over the same period nationally that figure has risen by 12 per cent.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:

‘These figures make a compelling case for our important reforms - reoffending 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 Government is currently introducing radical reforms to rehabilitation services in England and Wales. This will see the best of the private, voluntary and public sectors working together to turn offenders away from crime for good. And we will only pay in full for services proven to cut reoffending so we only invest in what works and ensure taxpayers get better value.

We have toughened up the law so the most serious criminals will receive the most severe sentences. We have scrapped the confusing IPP sentence, and replaced it with a tough new regime which will see more dangerous offenders given life sentences and others spending long periods in prison and being supervised for long periods after their release. The new regime includes a ‘two strike’ policy where offenders face a mandatory life sentence in cases where they have committed two very serious sexual or violent crimes consecutively.

Notes to editors:

  1. View the latest reoffending figures

  2. View the latest figures on the numbers of offenders receiving custodial sentences

  3. View the latest interim re-conviction figures on our Payment by Results pilots in Peterborough and Doncaster

  4. View the latest crime figures

  5. For any further information please contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536.