Convicts return to life of crime

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MORE convicts in Wigan are returning to a life of crime within months of serving jail or community sentences, latest figures reveal.

A study of more than 3,900 criminals released in the borough has revealed almost 10 per cent went on to reoffend in 2009/10 – a five per cent increase compared to 2007/08.

But today Greater Manchester Probation Trust (GMPT) defended the figures, stressing Wigan has the fifth lowest re-offending rate in the region and falls below the national average.

Roz Hamilton, GMPT chief executive, said: “While any increase in offending rates is to be regretted, it must be remembered that Wigan remains a high performing area and that Greater Manchester is one of the country’s top four performing probation trusts.

“Greater Manchester has had four consecutive quarters of consistently lower than predicted re-offending rates.

“Our task remains to work with the local authority, police and other partners to reduce re-offending and make the community safer. This will always be our target and we are incredibly proud of our sustained record in achieving this.”

The Trust added that 76.6 per cent of offenders completed their orders and licences successfully in Wigan during March, which exceeds the national target of 70 per cent.

More than 1,100 people are currently being supervised by the probation service in the borough, both on court orders and on licence from prison.

A study into local reoffending rates by the Ministry of Justice looked at 3,954 offenders under probation supervision in Wigan between September 2009 and October 2010. However, Wigan fared better than neighbouring Bolton, with a reoffending rate of 10.32 per cent.

The Ministry of Justice said the re-offending rate IN England and Wales had fallen by 1.5 per cent since 2007/08.