Eighteen murderers are among hundreds of offenders on the run after being recalled to prison, official figures have revealed.
There are 1,064 offenders who have been recalled to prison after being released on licence but have not been returned to custody, offender management statistics from the Ministry of Justice said.
Among the total figure are 134 criminals convicted of violent offences, including 18 murderers, and 34 sex offenders, including 14 rapists.
Offenders serving a sentence of 12 months and more are in most cases released from prison automatically at the half way point of their sentence, under licensed supervision.
There are various reasons why offenders are recalled to custody for breaching their licence conditions, including committing a further offence or a deterioration in behaviour.
A separate batch of statistics revealed t he number of sexual and violent offenders being supervised in the community who go on to commit further serious offences has risen by nearly a fifth.
A total of 174 registered sex offenders and violent criminals, who were being supervised by Probation Trusts, were charged with a serious further offence last year, which can include murder, rape and manslaughter, the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) annual report said.
This i s a 17% increase in offenders charged with a serious further offence, from 149 in 2012/13.
Justice Minister Andrew Selous said: " In over 99% of cases where an offender has been recalled, the individual has successfully been returned to custody.
"Once an offender has been recalled by probation, the National Offender Management Service work in partnership with the police to quickly identify and recall offenders but ultimately, it is for the police to return them to custody."