100,000 offenders recalled to jail
More than 100,000 offenders, including killers, rapists and sex offenders, have been freed from jail only to be recalled after breaching the terms of their release over the last 10 years, figures have showed.
The number of offenders being sent back to jail each year more than quadrupled in 2009/10 from 2000/1 and looks set to increase even further when the full figures for the last financial year are published.
Almost 1,000 criminals who should be in jail remain on the run, including 20 murderers and nine rapists among a total of 126 violent offenders.
All prisoners serving fixed jail terms since 2005 have been automatically freed when they have completed half of their sentence, regardless of the risk they pose to the public or whether they have shown any remorse.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) admitted the number of prisoners being sent back to prison had risen "significantly".
"Offenders are spending longer on licence and agencies have improved arrangements in place to share intelligence," a spokesman said. "As a result, there has been a significant increase in the number of offenders who are being recalled to custody."
One offender in his 30s, who was automatically released half-way through his five-year sentence for domestic violence and threatening to kill his partner, was subject to an emergency recall after texting death threats to her within two hours of his release in Merseyside, the probation union Napo said.
Another 21-year-old attacker in Surrey and Sussex, who stabbed someone he believed had informed on him, was also released half-way through a five-year sentence - only to go on the run for two weeks before being arrested close to his victim's home armed with a carving knife and crowbar.
The Napo briefing on dangerous offenders also highlighted a 30-year-old rapist, who was also convicted of false imprisonment and actual bodily harm. Within a week of being automatically released after four years, police issued a media alert to find him amid fears for the safety of his victim. He was later caught and sent back to prison.
Harry Fletcher, Napo's assistant general secretary, said: "The number of prisoners recalled to custody has gone up by over 450% since 2001. Thousands of those who have been released clearly pose a risk to the public. It is not surprising therefore that the recall rate has increased so dramatically."