Chris Grayling calls for better rehabilitation after 200,000 crimes a year by ex-prisoners expose 'depressing merry-go-round' of re-offending criminals

Nearly 66,000 burglaries last year were committed by people who had spent at least a year in prison

The Justice Secretary has decried a "depressing merry-go-round of crime and re-offending" after new figures showed that more than 200,000 crimes were committed by ex-prisoners who had served over a year in prison.

Chris Grayling said the stats, which cover England and Wales, show that offenders need better rehabilitation.

The stats showed that criminals who had previously been jailed for at least a year were responsible for 208,699 offences in the 12 months up to last September - including more than 35,000 violent crimes, nearly 66,000 burglaries, robberies and thefts and more than 6,500 sexual offences.

Mr Grayling said: "These figures just go to show the depressing merry-go-round of crime and re-offending. Re-offending rates have barely changed in a decade, and it's clear we need to do things differently.

"I'm going to be setting out soon the Government's plans for how we intend to do just that, by better rehabilitating offenders so that they don't just carry on committing crimes and leaving more victims in their wake."

Earlier this year, Mr Grayling unveiled plans to overhaul the rehabilitation of former prisoners by allowing private firms to take on contracts on a payment-by-results basis.

At the time, he said the overhaul was necessary as re-offending had been "too high for too long" with 48 per cent of prisoners re-convicted within 12 months of release from jail.

The final reforms could be introduced in next week's Queen's Speech.