How many rapists reoffend?

Published: 16th Aug 2019

In brief

Claim

In the last five years, we have seen literally hundreds of convicted rapists who have come out of prison commit another sexual offence.

Conclusion

Correct. It shows that each year, in England and Wales, roughly 40-60 people are convicted of rape who had previous rape convictions. From 2013 to 2017, there were 263 such convictions.

“In the last five years, we have seen literally hundreds of convicted rapists who have come out of prison commit another sexual offence.”

Boris Johnson, 11 August 2019

Last Sunday, Boris Johnson, said that over the past five years, hundreds of convicted rapists have committed another sexual offence after their release from prison.

This is correct, based on data which the Ministry of Justice shared with us, that had been produced in response to a Freedom of Information request. The data was not previously in the public domain.

As we’ve said before, it’s inappropriate for Ministers to use figures that aren’t in the public domain, and figures like these should be published in full so that anyone can check where they’re from and how they’re calculated.

It shows that each year, in England and Wales, roughly 40-60 people are convicted of rape who had previous rape convictions.

From 2013 to 2017, there were 263 such convictions, making up 4% of all rape convictions.

Over the same period, there were around 1,900 convictions for sexual assault, where the offender had a previous conviction for sexual assault. Based on the latest data for July-September 2017, the proportion of sexual offenders who reoffend (with a crime of any type) within a year is around 14%.

This covers all adult sexual offenders who were released from custody, received a non-custodial conviction at court or received a reprimand or warning in that three-month period.

It covers offences they committed in a one year period after their release/non-custodial conviction/reprimand. The level has stayed at between 14% and 16% for the last two years.

Update 22 August 2019

We updated this piece with more detail on the data from the Ministry of Justice.

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