‘Career criminals’ avoiding jail despite over 75 previous convictions
- Credit: PA
Hundreds of Norfolk criminals have avoided going to prison for further offences despite a long list of previous convictions or cautions to their name, figures have revealed.
Last year 854 of the 2,431 cases where an adult admitted or was found guilty of an indictable offence – such as theft, violence or rape – the offender had at least 15 previous convictions or cautions, Ministry of Justice data shows.
That included 30 where the offender had 75 or more previous convictions or cautions.
Just 316 of the cases - 37pc - where offenders had at least 15 previous convictions or cautions resulted in an immediate prison sentence.
Some 66 resulted in no punishment and 147 with a fine. The outcomes for 134 cases were not specified.
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The Ministry of Justice said the reunification of the probation service meant staff had the skills to run rehabilitative programmes, preventing crime and increasing supervision of offenders outside prison.
But groups which support the rehabilitation of reoffenders say the Government was still not doing enough.
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Charity Unlock, which helps people dealing with the stigma of a criminal record, said people also needed support with physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as housing and employment.
Chief executive Angela Cairns added: "Having to disclose a criminal record is a barrier to access those things – local authorities are permitted to exclude people with unspent convictions from social housing and more than half of employers admit they would discriminate against someone with a criminal record."
Detective Chief Superintendent Jules Wvendth, on behalf of Joint Justice Services, said Norfolk police works alongside a variety of partner agencies to tackle and prevent reoffending, including prisons, the probation service, local housing providers and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
She said criminals often had chaotic and complex behaviour but the Integrated Offender Management Team (IOM) aimed to identify the root causes and prevent reoffending by offering assistance including housing, addictions and financial support, and relationship and behavioural advice.
“Sadly, a small number of individuals tend to be responsible for a large amount of offences and do return to their criminal behaviour despite the assistance offered, however we continue to focus our work on breaking the cycle of offending,” she added.