“46% of all prisoners will re-offend within a year of release. 60% of short-sentenced prisoners will re-offend within the same period.”
David Cameron, 8 February 2016
That’s right for England and Wales: 46% of adult prisoners were proven to have re-offended within a year of release in the most recent statistics. The figure is 60% for people sentenced to less than a year. These figures are for people released between April 2013 and March 2014.
The overall rate of proven re-offending has remained stable for the past decade.
Re-offences don’t have to be as serious as the original offence. Receiving a caution in the year after release from prison counts as a proven re-offence in these figures.
While re-offending is highest for short-sentenced prisoners, this doesn’t mean short sentences are less effective on their own. The Ministry of Justice warns that figures for different sentence types “should not be compared to assess the effectiveness of sentences”.
That’s because people who are sentenced to under a year don’t necessarily share the same characteristics as people who get cautions or who are sentenced to longer periods, so it’s not possible to tell whether the sentences themselves have any effect on re-offending.