Reoffending rates are 'too high' says Ministry of Justice


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The Independent Online

Almost 400 criminals carrying out community service reoffend before completing their punishment every week, it has been claimed. 

The Daily Mail said it had uncovered statistics using the Freedom of Information Act which showed more than 20,000 people reoffended last year while subject to community service orders.

It said a similar number were brought back before the courts for failing to complete the orders.

In response to the figures, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "The majority of offenders successfully complete their community sentences and do not go on to commit further crimes.

"However, reoffending rates are too high which is why we are reforming the criminal justice system so offenders are properly punished and the root causes of their behaviour addressed.

"We have completed a consultation on the future shape of community sentences to make them tougher and will set out our approach in due course."

The Justice Ministry spokesman added: "Our plans to restore public confidence in community sentences include prohibiting foreign travel and imposing longer, more restrictive curfews.

"We will also be making Community Payback more intensive and demanding with unemployed offenders serving longer hours, carrying out purposeful, unpaid activity which benefits their local community."

Figures released to the Daily Mail under the Freedom of Information Act showed that last year 20,121 convicts who were placed on a community punishment order committed another crime.

Another 22,817 orders were stopped because the subject was failing to follow the rules set down by the court - such as unpaid work, meeting their probation officer or attending drug treatment.

It means that almost 43,000 community orders or suspended sentence orders - more than 800 every week - are being stopped because of criminals' behaviour.

Jonathan Isaby of the TaxPayers' Alliance, told the Daily Mail: "When only two thirds of these community punishment orders are being carried out, how can taxpayers feel that the system is delivering justice?

"When the criminals subject to these orders who re-offend or fail to comply with their conditions return to court again, they must be handed tough sentences if the public are going to have any confidence in the system."