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Nearly 50,000 criminals spared jail offend again within a year: MPs claim 'shocking' figures show failure by probation officersConvicts including violent thugs spared jail committed another offenceTory MPs have said figures show a problem with the probation serviceJustice Secretary announced plans to tackle entrenched reoffending
00:36 GMT, 19 December 2012
Around 50,000 criminals who were spared jail went on to commit another crime within a year, figures revealed yesterday.
The convicts – including violent thugs, burglars and drug dealers – were handed community service or a suspended jail term, leaving them free to commit new crimes.
Within 12 months, a total of 49,636 offenders who were not put behind bars were convicted of another offence. Had they been jailed, they would have been unable to offend again.
Plans: The Justice Secretary is set to announce that charities and businesses can play a role in to reduce reoffending
Re-offend: A total of 49,636 offenders not put behind bars were convicted of another offence within 12 months
Tory MPs said the ‘shocking’ figures showed a failure by probation officials to get a grip on criminals they were supposed to be reforming.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is set to announce within weeks that charities and businesses will be brought in to tackle entrenched reoffending as part of the ‘rehabilitation revolution’. Yesterday he said the majority of probation work would be outsourced.
Charities and firms will be ‘paid by results’ – and required to hit fixed targets for cutting re-offending.
Tory MP Priti Patel said: ‘These are quite shocking figures. They demonstrate the true extent of reoffending.
‘There is clearly a problem with the probation service which is not working well to deal with this issue.
‘I have no doubt that the Secretary of State will look at this problem with a matter of urgency to tackle this appalling cycle of reoffending.’
Rehabilitation: Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced new plans to tackle reoffending
Figures published by the Ministry of Justice show that 49,636 criminals given court orders in 2010 – suspended sentences or community service – committed another crime within 12 months.
The true level of reoffending is likely to be higher given the number of criminals whose crimes go undetected. Of the total, 13,114 had been convicted of violent crimes, 3,621 of burglary and 222 of robbery.
Another 433 were sex offenders, including 144 convicted of sexual offences involving children.
Some 12,778 were guilty of theft, 915 of drug dealing offences and 2,599 convicted of criminal damage.
More than 1,000 were guilty of forgery or fraud and 1,165 of handling stolen goods.
Yesterday Mr Grayling told the House of Commons that charities would pay a major role in payment-by-results schemes. A consultation on the proposals will be published in the New Year.
Criminals who are sentenced to less than 12 months, who currently do not have probation support, will be dealt with under the new arrangements. Serious offenders will remain under the old system.
Mr Grayling told MPs: ‘I intend to apply payment by results to the majority of rehabilitation work conducted with offenders in the community.
‘This rehabilitation revolution will stimulate innovation and open the delivery of services to a wider range of providers with the skills needed to change the individual’s behaviour and reduce offending in the future.’
Labour spokesman Andy Sawford said the introduction of payment by results could be ‘damaging’ to offender management.
He compared the prospect of outsourcing probation to the use of private companies testing benefit claimants to see if they are fit to work.
Unions are campaigning against the changes, arguing privatisation would be a ‘race to the bottom at the expense of effectiveness and efficiency’. Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of Napo, the probation workers’ union, has said privatisation ‘flies in the face of all the available evidence’.
Failure: Conservative MP Priti Patel said the 'shocking' figures showed there was a problem with the probation service