Prolific criminals

29,000 criminals avoided prison despite 25 or more previous convictions

ccp-logo-specialResearch from the Centre for Crime Prevention reveals the scale of soft justice for prolific offenders, with some criminals avoiding prison despite 300 or more previous convictions or cautions.

Data from Freedom of Information requests shows that almost 112,000 criminals found guilty of at least their sixth offence in 2012 avoided prison. More than 55,000 avoided prison despite 15 or more previous offences – and just under 29,000 avoided prison despite 25 or more previous offences.

Click here to read the report, including a full regional breakdown by local police force area

The key findings of the report are:

  • 28,997 offenders found guilty of a crime in 2012 avoided prison despite 25 or more previous offences.
  • Each time a repeat offender is convicted, their chance of avoiding prison is at least 50% – until they have committed at least 100 offences. To have less than a 40% chance of avoiding prison they must commit at least 300 offences.
  • Over 110,000 criminals caught for at least 6 offences are benefiting from soft sentencing:
    • 111,783 criminals found guilty of a crime in 2012 avoided prison despite 5 or more previous offences.
    • 88,967 criminals avoided prison despite 8 or more previous offences.
    • 55,683 criminals avoided prison despite 15 or more previous offences.
  • The majority of the country’s most prolific criminals avoided prison despite their previous offences often numbering in the triple figures.
    • 5,692 offenders found guilty of a crime in 2012 avoided prison despite 50 or more previous offences.
    • 1,474 avoided prison after 75 or more previous offences.
    • 523 avoided prison after 100 or more previous offences.
    • 198 avoided prison after 150 or more previous offences.
    • 65 avoided prison after 200 or more previous offences.
    • 26 avoided prison after 250 or more previous offences.
    • 8 avoided prison after 300 or more previous offences.
  • Contrary to claims that women are treated more harshly by the courts, male criminals with either one or two previous convictions or cautions are more than twice as likely as women criminals to go to prison. Male criminals are also:
    • 93% more likely to go to prison after 8 previous offences;
    • 34% more likely to go to prison after 30 – 39 previous offences; and
    • 9% more likely to go to prison after 50 – 59 previous offences.