Reoffending rates at record high

 

The number of hardened criminals reoffending is at a record high while the number of first-time offenders has dropped in England and Wales.

The latest criminal justice statistics show nearly a third (31.2%) of defendants convicted of serious offences (crown court offences) last year had 15 or more previous convictions or cautions.

The number is the highest since 2001 when it was 17.9% and has risen steadily.

The Ministry of Justice's quarterly update also said 10.1% of offenders convicted of indictable offences in 2011 had no previous criminal offences.

The figures added that the 31.2% figure with 15 or more previous offences was an increase of 13.3% since 2001.

While the number of people with 15 or more cautions has risen steadily, the number of first time offenders has dropped since 2001 - from 11.9% to 10.1% in 2011.

Iain Bell, chief statistician for the Ministry of Justice, said: "The proportion of offenders who have either been cautioned or convicted who have 15 or more previous offences is rising."

The figures, released today, show that while the number of offenders with 15 or more previous convictions or cautions is at a record high, other repeat offenders sentenced for indictable offences has fallen.

The disorder that swept across the country last August after riots began in London made very little impact on the offending figures, said Mr Bell.

The figures show that 85,200 people were sentenced to immediate custody for indictable offences - an increase of 2.8% since 2010, and the highest since 2002.

There was a 13.5% drop in the number of indeterminate sentences - life sentences or indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs).

But of those, the number of life sentences increased from 384 in 2010 to 395 in 2011 - the first annual increase since 2008.

The drop in indeterminate sentences comes alongside a 30.5% rise in the number of long determinate sentences of 10 years or more.

According to the Sentencing Council's Crown Court Sentencing Survey, also released today, "only a small proportion of offenders sentenced to an IPP have been released at the end of the minimum term tariff".

For Category One criminals who have committed the most harmful offences the average time spent behind bars from 2011 figures was seven years and eight months.

But the reseachers said fewer than 10% of parole board hearings meeting at the minimum term's conclusion resulted in the prisoner being freed.

"Therefore, the actual amount of time spent in prison is likely to be higher (than seven years eight months)".

The average amount of time people were sent to jail for has risen on average by a month - from 13.7 months in 2010 to 14.7 in 2011. It was 11.8 months in 2001.

The MoJ said the average custodial sentence length (ACSL) for indictable offences rose by a month to 17.2 months - the highest in a decade.

Sentence lengths rose for violent crimes and sex offences.

Last year people were jailed for an average of 18.8 months for crimes of violence against the person, compared to 17.8 months the previous year.

And for sexual offences the average sentence rose from 48.7 months in 2010 to 53.2 last year.

The disorder that swept across the country last August after riots began in London made very little impact on the offending figures, said Mr Bell.

The figures show that 85,200 people were sentenced to immediate custody for indictable offences - an increase of 2.8% since 2010, and the highest since 2002.

There was a 13.5% drop in the number of indeterminate sentences - life sentences or indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs).

But of those, the number of life sentences increased from 384 in 2010 to 395 in 2011 - the first annual increase since 2008.

The drop in indeterminate sentences comes alongside a 30.5% rise in the number of long determinate sentences of 10 years or more.

According to the Sentencing Council's Crown Court Sentencing Survey, also released today, "only a small proportion of offenders sentenced to an IPP have been released at the end of the minimum term tariff".

For Category One criminals who have committed the most harmful offences the average time spent behind bars from 2011 figures was seven years and eight months.

But the reseachers said fewer than 10% of parole board hearings meeting at the minimum term's conclusion resulted in the prisoner being freed.

"Therefore, the actual amount of time spent in prison is likely to be higher (than seven years eight months)".

The average amount of time people were sent to jail for has risen on average by a month - from 13.7 months in 2010 to 14.7 in 2011. It was 11.8 months in 2001.

The MoJ said the average custodial sentence length (ACSL) for indictable offences rose by a month to 17.2 months - the highest in a decade.

Sentence lengths rose for violent crimes and sex offences.

Last year people were jailed for an average of 18.8 months for crimes of violence against the person, compared to 17.8 months the previous year.

And for sexual offences the average sentence rose from 48.7 months in 2010 to 53.2 last year.

Among the statistics, it emerged there was an 11% increase last year for the number of cautions given to sex offenders.

There were 1,364 cautions given in 2010 and 1,532 last year.

There was also a rise in the number of convictions for sex offences, from 5,788 in 2010 to 5,977 last year when there were 9,919 proceedings brought.

The MoJ spokesman said: "These statistics show criminal histories of individuals over a lifetime, not just recent offences, and range from simple cautions to convictions for driving offences including speeding or using a mobile phone when driving to more serious crimes.

"However, we believe reoffending rates are still 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 are making prisons places of meaningful work, toughening community sentences, tackling criminals drug and alcohol problems, and making them pay back to victims and communities."

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: "The Government needs to get to grips with people stuck in a destructive pattern of offending.

"To break this cycle, it should increase treatment for addicts, build on the success of intensive supervision of offenders in the community and make constructive use of custody for serious and violent offenders.

"In our overcrowded jails, staff can do little more than warehouse people in bleak conditions."

PA

Suggested Topics
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home