Criminals with more than 300 convictions avoiding jail in Britain’s ‘soft-touch’ justice system

Get the full story here: Daily Mirror, 10 January 2014, link.

Author of a new report Peter Cuthbertson said: “New Zealand told criminals it is ‘three strikes and you’re out’… we don’t even have 300 strikes and you’re out”.

Career criminals are avoiding jail despite committing more than 300 offences.

Eight crooks with the shock crime record escaped prison in 2012, figures released under freedom of information have revealed.

Dozens more hardened offenders avoided time behind bars – despite racking up more than 250 offences.

Critics said the revelations exposed Britain’s soft-touch justice system for repeat offenders.

Overall, some 112,000 criminals found guilty of at least their sixth offence avoided prison last year.

More than 55,000 walked free despite 15 or more previous offences – and just under 29,000 escaped jail despite 25 or more previous offences.

The figures were unearthed in a study by the Centre for Crime Prevention.

Peter Cuthbertson, author of the report, said his study showed that each time a repeat offender is convicted, they have a 50/50 chance of avoiding prison – until they have committed at least 100 offences.

To have less than a 40% chance of avoiding prison criminals must have committed at least 300 offences.

Mr Cuthbertson said: “The courts are utterly failing to show they take crime seriously.

“Prison is the only sure way to protect the public from hardened criminals.

“The most prolific offenders are responsible for a growing percentage of all crime, and locking them up would have a massive impact on the crime rate.

“New Zealand recently fought rising crime by letting criminals know that it is ‘three strikes and you’re out’. In Britain, we don’t even have 300 strikes and you’re out.”

The majority of the country’s most prolific criminals avoided prison despite their previous offences often numbering in the triple figures, according to the study.

More than 5,000 offenders found guilty of a crime in 2012 avoided prison despite 50 or more previous offences.

The study also shows that women are treated far more leniently than men by the courts.

Male criminals with either one or two previous convictions or cautions are more than twice as likely as women to go to prison.

Male criminals are 76% more likely to go to prison after seven previous offences, 34% more likely to go after 30-39 previous crimes and 9% after 50-59 earlier crimes.

Get the full story here: Daily Mirror, 10 January 2014, link.