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2014-reoffending
Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Probation reoffending rates keep falling

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MoJ official statistics for 2014 (published October 2016) show reoffending rates of those on probation continue to fall.

Reoffending rates for 2014

Last month (27 October 2016) the MoJ published the latest proven reoffending statistics for both adult and juvenile offenders, including both those released from custody, and those who received a community sentence in 2014.

The figures aren’t published until almost two years later because a re-offence is defined as any offence committed in a one year follow-up period from either release from prison or the making of a non-custodial sentence plus a further six month waiting period to allow the offence to be proven in court and officially recorded.

Before turning to the statistics themselves, it’s important to note that these figures predate the split of the probation service into public (high risk offenders) and private (low & medium risk) in the Transforming Rehabilitation initiative. (Although the split took place in June 2014, private providers did not start operating Community Rehabilitation Companies until February 2015.)

Adult reoffending

I have split the main findings into adult and juvenile (aged under 18 years at the time of the original offence) sections.

Adult offenders had a proven reoffending rate of 24.5%, representing a small decrease of 0.9 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months and also a fall of 0.9 percentage points since 2004. This rate has been fairly flat since 2004 fluctuating between 24.4% and 25.4%.

Around 352,000 proven reoffences were committed by adults over the one year follow-up period. Those that reoffended committed on average 3.19 reoffences each.

Unsurprisingly, adult offenders with 11 or more previous offences have a higher reoffending rate than those with no previous offences – 45.2% compared to 7.5%.

The reoffending rate of adults starting a court order in 2014 — all of whom were supervised by public probation at the time — was 32.6%, a fall of 4.8 percentage points since 2004, and a fall of 1.7 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months.

The reoffending rate for adults released from custody in 2014 was 45.5%. This represents a small fall of 0.3 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months and a fall of 3.1 percentage points since 2004. Since 2004, the overall rate for those released from custody has remained relatively stable at around 45% to 49%.

The rate for those released from short sentences has been consistently higher compared to those released from longer sentences. Adults who served sentences of less than 12 months reoffended at a rate of 60%, compared to 33.4% for those who served determinate sentences of 12 months or more.

The graphic below shows the reoffending rates for everyone convicted of an offence by type of sentence:

2014-reoffending-by-sentence

Juvenile reoffending

Around 38,000 juvenile offenders were cautioned, convicted or released from custody in 2014 and around 14,000 of them committed a reoffence. This gives a proven reoffending rate of 37.9%, which is the same as the previous 12 months and an increase of 4.3 percentage points since 2004. However, the cohort has fallen by around 75% since 2004.

Around 47,000 proven reoffences were committed by juveniles over the one year follow-up period. Those that reoffended committed on average 3.27 reoffences each. Juvenile offenders with 11 or more previous offences have a higher reoffending rate than those with no previous offences – 76.1% compared to 24.5%.

The reoffending rate for juvenile offenders given a youth caution, reprimand or warning was 31%, an increase of 1.3 percentage points from the previous year and 5.1 percentage points from 2004.

The proven reoffending rate for juvenile offenders released from custody in 2014 was 69.2%. This is a fall of 6.3 percentage points since 2004, but an increase of 2.7 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months.

It is not a surprise that juvenile reoffending rates are increasing since over recent years a growing proportion of those committing less serious offences have been diverted from the formal court processes leaving a smaller number of more serious offenders.

Conclusion

The continued fall in adult reoffending rates means that if the MoJ continues with its original contracts with those running Community Rehabilitation Companies, it will be harder for these private providers to meet their targets and receive the payment by results component of their income.

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All Probation Posts are sponsored by Unilink

With over 20 years’ experience in the criminal justice sector, Unilink is a world leader in probation and community corrections software applications, as well as prisoner self-service, prisoner/case management and prisoner communications. Unilink’s integrated suite of products provide a complete digital solution enabling efficient running of prisons and probation. Underpinned by biometrics it integrates seamlessly to deliver security, efficiency and value – while being proven to help rehabilitate prisoners.

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