X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Chris Grayling gets a relatively easy ride over reoffending rates

10 November 2013

12:19 PM

10 November 2013

12:19 PM

Theresa May accepted her Spectator Politician of the Year award with the quip: ‘It used to be a joke that I lock them up and Ken Clarke lets them out, now they say I lock them up and Chris Grayling throws away the key.’ The right wing press, as Ken Clarke is given to calling it, is much enamoured with Grayling and May. ConservativeHome’s Mark Wallace describes them as the ‘dynamic duo’, and writes a long appreciation of their ‘increasingly strong message on crime’.

There is, of course, as Wallace concedes, more to governing than messages. The Mail on Sunday carries a small item about reoffending rates under the headline ‘scandal of prisoners who strike again’. 5 years have passed since David Cameron and Nick Herbert, who was then Shadow Justice Secretary, promised a ‘rehabilitation revolution’ and yet here we are. The Mail reports:

‘In 2011, 356 adult offenders committed serious violent or sexual offences after release from a sentence of less than a year, while a further 2,482 committed serious ‘acquisitive’  crimes such as robbery within 12 months of being released. There were also 37,804 thefts and 15,355 lower-level violent assaults by reoffenders.’

[Alt-Text]


Those figures are disappointing; and one mustn’t forget that the crimes for which offenders are convicted are a fraction of what they commit. In August 2010, the criminologist Ken Pease published a report for the think-tank Civitas in which he quoted an estimate that there are 130 burglaries per conviction. He estimated that crime costs the taxpayer £10bn a year.

The underlying issue, here, is the Conservatives’ failure to reform criminals to stop petty lags turn into habitual criminals. The Mail’s piece gives Chris Grayling a pretty easy ride (although, to be fair, he wasn’t Justice Secretary until September 2012). It’s short and sweet, and gives him the last word: ‘We currently have a situation where each year thousands of crimes are being committed by offenders who have already broken the law. It is little surprise when those on short sentences walk out the prison gates with little or no support. Enough is enough.’ I wonder: if Ken Clarke was still Justice Secretary, would the Mail have been so lenient with these dismal figures and the human misery associated with them?

Grayling is right to identify the lack of support for prisoners on short sentences; he is in agreement with Clarke on that if nothing else. But the question remains as it was in 2010, when Clarke was battling critics from the right, who thought he was soft, and from the left, who thought he was tight-fisted. Are there sufficient resources – from general taxation, the private sector and the tertiary sector – to provide the required remedial support?  As Ken Pease, the Prison Reform Trust and others all noted back in 2010, remedial programmes without money are worthless.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close