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Jail re-offending plan falls short

A payment-by-results scheme supervising people released from prison has failed to hit its first target to reduce re-offending, fresh data has revealed.

A range of charities such as Sova and St Giles Trust are helping to resettle prisoners released from HMP Peterborough as part of a pilot designed to stop them committing further offences.

But while the re-offending measure for the first batch of around 1,000 prisoners has fallen by 8.4%, it is short of the 10% needed to trigger a payment from the Government to investors in the scheme.

However, the Ministry of Justice said the pilot is on course to hit a second target to reduce the re-offending measure by 7.5% across a total of around 2,000 prisoners.

Another pilot scheme - run by private firm Serco and charity Catch 22 at HMP Doncaster - has surpassed its target of reducing its re-offending measure by 5% after the re-conviction rate for released prisoners fell by 5.7%.

The pilot results come as the Government introduces widespread reforms to rehabilitation services across England and Wales.

A package of £450 million-worth of probation contracts have been offered to private and voluntary sector organisations, covering the supervision of 225,000 low and medium-risk offenders each year on a payment-by-results basis.

Contracts are to be split across private Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) in 20 English regions and one Welsh region, while the National Probation Service (NPS), a new public sector organisation, will be formed to deal with the rehabilitation of 31,000 high-risk offenders each year.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: "While the same old approach is having barely any impact on our sky-high re-offending rates, which have hardly changed in a decade, these through-the-gate pilots are getting results.

"For too long we have released prisoners back onto the streets with £46 in their pockets, and little else, in the hope they would sort themselves out - it's little wonder things haven't improved.

"The message is clear - our reforms are the right approach and will help us end the depressing cycle of re-offending too many are caught up in, keeping our communities safer."

Offenders sentenced to less than 12 months are the target of the pilot at HMP Peterborough, where the number of times offenders are convicted of further offences within a year of release have fallen 8.4%, when compared to a national control group.

In addition, the rate of re-offending at Peterborough has also reduced by 2.3 percentage points compared to the control group rate of 55.7%.

This could mean 1,700 fewer re-offences being committed, including 250 fewer violent crimes and more than 600 fewer thefts, if replicated across the country, according to the Ministry of Justice.

At Doncaster, the rate of offenders being convicted of a further offence at court dropped by 5.7 percentage points against the rate in 2009 for the prison.


From Belfast Telegraph