Public put ‘at risk’ as offenders go on to re-offend after sentence

Dozens of criminals have reoffended in Avon and Somerset.

Dozens of criminals have reoffended in Avon and Somerset. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More than 1,000 crimes were committed by previous offenders in North Somerset last year.

The Ministry of Justice revealed of the 1,215 offenders in North Somerset who were released from prison, received a non-custodial conviction or were cautioned by police between July 2016 and June 2017, 26 per cent went on to re-offend within a year.

Between the 319 criminals, they committed 1,166 new offences and have each committed an average of 17.8 crimes previously.

The news comes as the HM Inspectorate of Probation said criminals sentenced to short prison terms are locked in a 'merry-go-round' which leaves the public at risk and costs billions of pounds a year.

The rate of re-offending was higher among juvenile offenders - with 28 of the 88 under-18s went on to commit another crime within a year.

A report from the probation watchdog highlighted the shortcomings in the system for managing offenders in England and Wales.

The body said figures showed 64 per cent of adults released from custodial terms of less than 12 months re-offended within a year, committing a crime estimated to cost the economy £7billion to £10billion a year.

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Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke said there is a 'very strong case' for abolishing sentences of six months or less, with some exceptions such as for violent or sexual crimes.

Re-offending rates varied significantly between the types of crime from July 2016 to June 2017.

In the South West, 5,247 offenders committed a theft crime, 3,432 committed drug offences, 2,177 re-offenders committed violence against another person and 745 criminals were prosecuted for possession of weapons.

Re-offending rates have remained steady over the past few years in North Somerset, a 24 per cent low between July 2015 to June 2015 to 32 per cent from July 2008 to June 2009.

Chief inspector of probation Dame Glenys Stacey said such a move was 'unlikely to be effective without other changes'.

She added: "In my view, a system-wide approach as well as much more purposeful probation supervision is needed.

"Without it, individuals are locked in an expensive merry-go-round of criminal justice processes and the public are left at undue risk."