How Should We Tackle the UK’s High Rates of Reoffending?

The UK
has extremely high rates of reoffending – in fact around half of all
crime is committed by people who have already been through the
criminal justice system. This suggests that the criminal justice
system is not effective at preventing those with a criminal record
from committing further crimes. Not only does this defeat one of the
main functions of the criminal justice system – to prevent crime and
deter would-be criminals – it also comes at a great cost to the
taxpayer. The cost to the taxpayer of reoffending is estimated to be
£9.5 to £13 billion per year. That is a huge sum of money and in
our current economic climate, we simply cannot afford it.

rates have been too high for too long, despite major government
spending on the issue in the past decade. This government spending
has been a complete waste of resources. There has been little change
in reoffending rates and almost half of those released from prison go
on to commit another crime in the following year. The prison system
is clearly not putting people off from reoffending again. But we
desperately need to prevent people from reoffending, to reduce the
number of victims in society and to reduce the costs to the taxpayer.
To achieve this, we need a criminal justice system that punishes
people in a proper and effective manner, while supporting them so
that they do not commit a crime again.

government can do this by offering a ‘payment by results’ approach.
The idea behind this approach is that providers of rehabilitation
will be rewarded if they offer truly effective rehabilitation. This
will give them an incentive to properly rehabilitate offenders, since
it is in their interest to do so. It is important to remember,
however, that there is not one simple solution to the UK’s high rates
of reoffending. A number of approaches need to be combined to work
towards this common goal. Another approach would be to offer more
meaningful and productive work for prisoners, so that they can
develop skills and a sense of community. This will help to integrate
them into society once they are released.

many offenders are in prison for drug charges, drug abuse should be
prevented inside prisons, and drugs counselling should be provided
after release. This will serve to prevent further drug abuse outside
of prison, a lifestyle which can lead to crimes such as theft. In
addition, once offenders are released that should not be the end of
the rehabilitation process. Support should be there for them so that
they can resettle in their communities, become more employable and
find work as soon as possible. 


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