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Re-offending Rates: Non-Custodial Sentences

Many types of custodial and non-custodial schemes do not improve reconviction rates, including intensive supervision in the community and tagging. Reducing re-conviction is a key way to reduce the overall crime rate, so must be one of the main areas to address in the future.


The Home Office's own statistics on community sentences show that of the three main types of non-custodial punishment, Community Rehabilitation Orders (CRO), Community Punishment Orders (CPO) and Community Punishment and Rehabilitation Orders, the failure rate is between 30 and 59 per cent. Of those orders terminated in 2004, almost 1 in 5 CROs were terminated because an offence was committed, in almost all cases leading to immediate custody. In the case of CPOs, it was 1 in 10. In total, a quarter of those serving either CRO or CPOs, committed another crime while serving the order or disobeyed its conditions.

The use of electronic tagging has not helped to rehabilitate young offenders. 75 per cent of young offenders who had been placed on an electronic tag were reconvicted within a year of completing the scheme, compared to 69 per cent of all young offenders who serve custodial sentences

Re-offending rates for some crimes are higher when community as opposed to prison sentences have been served: 69 per cent of those serving community sentences for robbery re-offend compared to 53 per cent of those imprisoned.

However, there are still large re-offending rates for those with custodial sentences. The Home Office's statistics reveal 61% of all prisoners released in 2001 were reconvicted within two years and 73% of young male offenders released 2001 were reconvicted within 2 years. A number of issues contribute to these high re-offending rates, including overcrowding, medical and social problems....

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