Call for additional funding to prevent inmates reoffending

Almost a quarter of all adult offenders in the West Midlands broke the law again within a year of being released, figures show.

The highest percentage locally was found in Wolverhampton, where 24.7 per cent of all offenders broke the law again within a year, clocking 1,478 new offences.

All numbers are from the most recent annual period recorded, between June 2019 and June 2020.

In Sandwell, 22.5 per cent reoffended within a year, according to the Ministry of Justice, with the 462 reoffenders racking up 1,610 new offences – an average of 3.5 each.

Simon Foster, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, has called for an increase in funding to allow him to allocate more cash to reduce the number of reoffenders.

He said: "It is vital that people are brought to justice for the crimes they’ve committed.

"But we can’t simply lock people up and hope they don’t offend again in the future.

"I invest in rehabilitation because it is a win-win. It will cut crime, there will be less victims of crime, less pressure on our police service and public services, less impact on our criminal justice system, it will save taxpayers money and provide an opportunity to break the cycle of crime and for previous offenders to make a positive contribution to society.

"Sadly though, resources are tight and that’s why I’d urge the government to level up and urgently increase the amount of money it allocates to our region, so I can do even more to reduce the number of reoffenders in our area."

In Walsall, 22 per cent of all offenders broke the law again within a year, racking up 958 new offences – an average of 3.4 each.

The percentage was slightly higher in Dudley, where 22.2 per cent reoffended within a year.

Meanwhile in Staffordshire, 19.7 percent reoffended within a year, totalling in 2,128 new offences.

Nationally, 25.8 per cent of people reoffended in the most recent annual period – down slightly from 27.4 per cent the year before.

A Government spokeswoman said: "Reducing reoffending is one of our top priorities which is why an extra £550 million will be invested over the next three years to rehabilitate offenders and protect the public.

"We’re also spending £400m to tackle economic crime and developing a new strategy to clampdown on the devastating impact fraud can have on victims."

Highlighting the potential benefits additional funding could have can be found in an offender rehabilitation scheme which has been run by West Midlands Police since 2017.

The C3 project gives repeat burglars – non-violent offenders whose crimes are drug fuelled – a chance to make amends to victims and get their lives back on track.

It has proved a success as since the C3 pilot was launched in 2017 burglary rates have fallen across the West Midlands by around 30 per cent (as of last August).

A total of 20 burglars had taken part in the project as of August last year – resolving a total of 830 offences between them − with 14 successfully steering clear of crime.

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