The Home Office has admitted huge flaws in figures released last
year which claimed it had successfully reduced reconviction rates
among juvenile offenders by more than 20 per cent,
writes Clare Jerrom.
The department released a correction statement to figures
published last year which had claimed that there had been a 22.5
per cent reduction in the reconviction rate of juveniles in 2001
compared to a 1997 base line.
“The figures published last year contained a technical
error which skewed the result,” a statement said. “The
actual reduction was seven per cent, still a significant
improvement in performance.”
“As a result of this error the Home Office subjected this
year’s data and methodology to independent peer
review,” the statement added.
A target was outlined in the 2004 Strategic Plan to reduce
re-offending rates by five per cent by 2008 and by 10 per cent in
The latest figures show a 4.5 per cent reduction in reconviction
rates within 12 months among juveniles dealt with in the first
quarter of 2001, compared with the same period in 2000. There was a
3.6 per cent reduction in reconviction rates in 2002 compared with
Reconvictions also fell among adult offenders in the two years
after their release from custody or commencing community sentences
by 1.8 per cent in 2001 compared with the previous year.
Prisons minister Paul Goggins welcomed the latest statistics and
said they were evidence that investment in the correctional
services was helping to reduce crime and “turn offenders into
“There is more to do to meet the challenging targets
ahead, but this proves it can be done,” he concluded.
Community Care campaigned throughout 2003 to call for a
reduction to the number of children held in custody and for an
increase in the use of alternatives such as community