Rise in criminals on probabtion

MOUNTING numbers of Suffolk criminals are being put on probation instead of being sent to jail, according to government figures today.The statistics saw a 35 per cent rise from nearly 1,400 to just under 1,900 over the four-year period between 2002 and 2005.

MOUNTING numbers of Suffolk criminals are being put on probation instead of being sent to jail, according to government figures today.

The statistics saw a 35 per cent rise from nearly 1,400 to just under 1,900 over the four-year period between 2002 and 2005.

The head of the county's probation service, John Budd, said the numbers had increased to 2,313 for the year between April 2006 and March 2007, a rise of 40 from the previous year.

However, he urged caution when making a comparison between these and the three-year figures revealed in the House of Commons as the way the statistics are recorded has changed radically.


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Mr Budd believes overcrowded prisons and increasing confidence in community punishments are behind the continuing rise in the number of people being monitored.

Mr Budd, said: “The number of people under supervision by Suffolk probation is increasing, and I would expect it to continue to do so.

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“It is partly to do with government policy - as a reaction to issues such as prison overcrowding, and partly because the courts' confidence in the ability of the probation service to work with people to prevent repeat offending is increasing.”

Mr Budd spoke following the publication of what he said were misleading figures, which came to light following questions in parliament by Liberal Democrat MP David Heath.

Mr Heath asked minister of state David Hanson how many offenders were being monitored in each county.

The answers provided showed that between 2002 and 2005, the total climbed from 1,393 to 1,879.

They were given in the calendar year format which is the reason they do not tie in with figures provided by Suffolk Probation as they are for financial years running from April to March.

However Mr Budd said there was no point in comparing figures from as far back as 2002 since the implementation of the 2003 Criminal Justice Act vastly changed the way statistics were recorded.

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