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The truth about prisons

Time in prison is a punishment, but can also help offenders change their ways to become law-abiding citizens.

The purpose of this page is to paint a picture of the reality of reoffending committed by those who had previously served a prison sentence.

Dealing with prisoner reoffending

Graph showing that reoffending for prison sentences of less than 12 months is 58%; reoffending for 1-4 year prison sentences is 36%; reoffending for 4-10 year prison sentences is 30%; and reoffending for prison sentences of 10 years or more is 17%. Note: These are experimental data.

Punishment is pointless if prisoners go on to offend again when they are released. Prison sentences, as all sentences, have to meet the five purposes of sentencing. Punishment is one, but reducing reoffending is just as important.

Equipping offenders for life after prison is one of the main challenges. Preparing them to find employment is a known way to reduce the likelihood of reoffending, as in addressing any social problems they may have including alcoholism, drug abuse or homelessness.

More about how sentencing and rehabilitation works...

Reoffending by prison

Find out how likely it is that adult offenders released from custody between January to December 2013 in each prison will go on to commit further offences, and how many offences they will typically commit.

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Data based on less than 30 offenders are removed as they make the data unreliable for interpretation

Rate of reoffending

Prison term UNDER 12 months

Prison term OVER 12 months


About these statistics

Proven reoffending statistics are published on the Justice website, visit the gov.uk website; they measure, over a 12 month period, the proven reoffending for all adult and juvenile offenders who were released from custody, or who received a non-custodial conviction at court, a caution, a reprimand, a warning.

These results do not account for the fact that each area may have very different offenders.

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