More than a quarter of criminals spared jail or recently released from custody have reoffended within a year, new figures show.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has revealed almost 170,000 criminals out of 630,000 released from prison, cautioned or given a non-custodial sentence between July 2010 and June 2011 went on to commit another offence over the next 12 months.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said he would continue "toughening penalties" to tackle the reoffending rate after it rose by 0.5 of a percentage point on the previous year.
Mr Grayling said: "We can't go on seeing reoffending rates at this level and rising. That's why we're both toughening penalties and pressing ahead with radical reform of how we mentor and rehabilitate offenders to stop the revolving door of the criminal justice system."
Almost 500,000 offences were committed by criminals who were released from prison or given non-custodial sentences between July 2010 and June 2011. More than half (56%) were committed by criminals with 11 or more previous offences. Around 3,300 of the crimes were of a serious violent or sexual nature, the MoJ said.
The figures for England and Wales were published in the MoJ's quarterly proven re-offending statistics. They cover offenders who were released from custody, were given a non-custodial conviction at court, received a caution, reprimand, warning or tested positive for opiates or cocaine between July 2010 and June 2011.
Nearly 69% of criminals with 11 or more prison sentences went on to reoffend, an increase of 2.3 percentage points from the previous year, the MoJ said.
Reoffending rates for prisoners serving less than 12 months also rose by 1.3 percentage points to 58.2%, while the rate for those given community orders rose 0.5 percentage points to 35.8%.
Meanwhile, the number of criminals aged 40 and above who reoffended has more than doubled over the last decade, according to the figures.
Some 18,200 offenders aged 40 to 49 committed crimes after being spared jail or released from custody between July 2010 and June 2011, compared with more than 8,000 in the year 2000. Around 5,700 criminals aged 50 or above also reoffended following their release in the same period, compared with nearly 2,800 in the year 2000.
https://www.gov.uk/browse/justice(Crime, justice and the law)