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all reoffending disposals July 16 FI
Russell Webster

Russell Webster

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

Probation reoffending rates fall

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Latest (July 2016) official MoJ reoffending statistics show drop in reoffending rates for those supervised by probation service.

Pre-TR figures

Last month (28 July 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 between October 2013 and September 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.

Overall findings

In October 2013 to September 2014 around 496,000 adult and juvenile offenders were cautioned, received a non-custodial conviction at court or released from custody. Around 128,000 of these offenders committed a proven reoffence within a year.

This gives an overall proven reoffending rate of 25.7%. This is a decrease of 0.7% percentage points compared to the previous 12 months and a fall of 2.7% percentage points since 2003. This rate has remained fairly stable, fluctuating between around 26% and 28% since 2003.

Around 403,000 proven reoffences were committed over the one year follow-up period, with those that reoffended committing, on average, 3.16 reoffences each.

The highest reoffending rate by age group is 39.5%, for offenders aged 10 to 14, the number of offenders in this cohort has fallen by 81% since 2003. The reoffending rate for offenders aged 15 to 17 is second highest, at 37.3%.

Less than 1% of all proven reoffences committed over the one year follow-up period were indictable only a small fall from 2003.

overall offending to Sept 2014

Adult offenders

Adult offenders had a proven reoffending rate of 24.7%, representing a small decrease of 0.7 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months and a fall of 2.2 percentage points since 2003, this rate has been fairly flat since 2004 fluctuating between 24.5% and 25.5%.

Around 356,000 proven reoffences were committed by adults over the one year follow-up period. Those that reoffended committed on average 3.16 reoffences each.

Adult offenders with 11 or more previous offences have a higher reoffending rate than those with no previous offences – 45.6% compared to 7.6%.

Probation supervision

The proven reoffending rate for adult offenders starting a court order (Community sentence or Suspended Sentence Order) was 33.2%, a fall of 6.7 percentage points since 2003, and a decrease of 1.0 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months.

Released prisoners

The proven reoffending rate for adult offenders released from custody in October 2013 to September 2014 was 45.5%. This represents a fall of 6.0 percentage points since 2003 and a small increase of 0.1 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months. 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 59.7%, compared to 33.4% for those who served determinate sentences of 12 months or more.

The trends for those released from short and long sentences have both remained broadly flat since 2005 and are consistent with the overall trend.

Juvenile offenders

Around 39,000 juvenile offenders were cautioned, convicted or released from custody in October 2013 to September 2014 and around 15,000 of them committed a reoffence.

This gives a proven reoffending rate of 37.8%, up 0.4 percentage points from the previous 12 months and an increase of 3.5 percentage points since 2003, the cohort has fallen by 71% since 2003. This is unsurprising since juveniles prosecuted through the courts now tend to have committed more serious offences than a decade earlier.

Around 48,000 proven reoffences were committed by juveniles over the one year follow-up period. Those that reoffended committed on average 3.19 reoffences each. Juvenile offenders with 11 or more previous offences have a higher reoffending rate than those with no previous offences – 75.0% compared to 24.7%.

Conclusion

As we have seen, these rates have more or less stabilised over the last decade although it is interesting to note that the drop in reoffending for those under probation supervision may make payment by results targets for the new private probation providers more difficult to achieve.

This latest MoJ statistical bulletin includes a very helpful infographic which shows the reoffending rates of all adults who were convicted of an offence in this time period. It’s interesting to note that even those fined or given absolute/conditional discharges had reoffending rates close to those sentenced to probation supervision or custody:

all reoffending disposals July 16

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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.

4 Responses

  1. I suspect it has more to do with fiddling the figures than actual drops in reoffending. Will be very interesting to see what stats come out of the first year after TR

  2. Hi Alison
    Thanks for your comment. Not sure how the figures would be fiddled, the courts decide who is put on probation and reoffending is measured by the Police National Computer.
    Best Wishes
    Russell

  3. I’m a bit confused by the figures to be honest. I would have thought if the data was for Jul 16 then the cohort would be taken from Jan 14-Dec 15 with a year’s re-offending data collected and another 6 month period to take account of court reporting?

    The cohort Oct 13 – Sept 14 would not really take account of the work of the new privately owned company as most of the work to prevent reoffending would have been carried by the publicly owned companies and their partners.

    It is clear though there is still a problem with high impact youth re-offending and those who receive sentences under 12 months.

  4. Hi Amanda

    Thanks very much for your comment.
    I think it’s one year cohort + one year reoffending period + 6 months to go through courts + 3 months for the report to be issued.
    As you say, and I point out in the intro to the post, this period predates TR changes.
    Short sentence prisoners are the group where new providers shold be able to make considerable impact on reoffending rates although not unless quality of Through-the-gate provision improves very rapidly.
    Best Wishes
    Russell

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