Reoffenders: Sentencing

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 23 April 2024.

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Photo of Siobhain McDonagh Siobhain McDonagh Labour, Mitcham and Morden

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of prisoners sentenced to custodial sentences had previously received at least one (a) community and (b) suspended sentence in each year since 2010.

Photo of Gareth Bacon Gareth Bacon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the independent judiciary and, by law, courts are required to be satisfied that the offence committed is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified, and even when that threshold is met, courts are able to consider whether a community sentence would be more suitable in that particular case. In many cases, sentences served in the community can more effectively reduce reoffending when compared to short custodial sentences.

Data showing the number and proportion of prisoners sentenced to custodial sentences, who have previously had at least one community order or suspended sentence order respectively for each year since 2010, is drawn from the Police National Computer. This can be viewed in the table below.

Table showing the number and proportion of offender s(1), (2) sentenced to immediate custody(3) in each year since 2010(4), who previously(5) received at least one community order(6) or suspended sentence order respectively(7), prior to the immediate custodial sentence. England and Wales(8).

Year

Number of offenders who received at least one community order prior to an immediate custodial sentence

Proportion of offenders who received at least one community order prior to an immediate custodial sentence

Number of offenders who received at least one suspended sentence order prior to an immediate custodial sentence

Proportion of offenders who received at least one suspended sentence order prior to an immediate custodial sentence

2010

34,550

40%

23,602

28%

2011

40,134

46%

25,870

29%

2012

42,183

49%

26,216

31%

2013

41,201

52%

26,670

33%

2014

41,962

54%

27,746

36%

2015

41,699

54%

28,381

37%

2016

42,985

55%

30,138

38%

2017

41,424

56%

30,010

41%

2018

38,318

57%

28,112

42%

2019

35,524

58%

25,634

42%

2020

28,623

59%

20,895

43%

2021

28,523

55%

20,898

41%

2022

27,230

56%

20,339

42%

Source: MoJ extract of the Police National Computer

1 - 'Proportion' refers to the number of offenders in each year who received an immediate custodial sentence in each year and had at least one previous community order or suspended sentence order respectively as a proportion of all offenders who received an immediate custodial sentence in the same year.

2 - Offenders are counted once in each year but may appear in multiple years if they received an immediate custodial sentence in more than one of the years.

3 - Immediate custodial sentences include types of detention other than adult prison (e.g. detention and training orders given to 10 to 17 year olds or detention in Young Offenders Institutions). An offender sentenced to immediate custody does not necessarily mean that the offender is a member of the prison population.

4 - The figures for 2020 and 2021 are likely to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

5 - Previous community orders or suspended sentence orders respectively may have been received at any time prior to the index offence (last immediate custodial sentence) in each year.

6 - Community orders strictly include community orders, with or without electronic monitoring or curfew restrictions, but excludes other types of community sentences (e.g. youth rehabilitation order, supervision orders) and other sentences that may be served in the community (e.g. suspended sentence orders). At least some of the orders included were only introduced in their current form in 2005.

7 – individuals can be present in both columns

8 - England and Wales includes all 43 police force areas plus the British Transport Police

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