Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

New moves to cut reoffending rates

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said policies need to be changed to cut reoffending rates

The Ministry of Justice has vowed to improve reoffending rates after new figures revealed that more than 200,000 crimes were committed in England and Wales last year by former prisoners who had already served lengthy jail terms.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said offenders needed better rehabilitation, to prevent more people becoming victims of crime.

The statistics 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. Reoffending 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, he 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, Mr Grayling said the overhaul was necessary as reoffending had been "too high for too long" with 48% of prisoners re-convicted within 12 months of release from jail.

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

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