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Across England and Wales, 24.3 per cent of criminals ended up reoffending in 2020-21. (Photo by: Chris Radburn/PA/Radar)

Prison reform advocates said further investment in housing, education and employment is needed to address the high rate of criminals re-entering the justice system.

Ministry of Justice figures show 923 offenders were released from prison, cautioned, or handed a non-custodial conviction at court in the year to September 2021 in Mansfield. Of them, 239 reoffended.

It meant there was a 25.9 per cent rate of reoffending – down slightly from 26 per cent the year prior.

Andrew Neilson, Howard League for Penal Reform director of campaigns, said the Government should “follow its own research”, which shows community sentences are more effective at reducing reoffending.

He said: “If someone needs support to move away from crime, they will have better access to the services that can help them if they are being supervised in the community than if they are locked in a prison cell for hours on end with nothing to do.

“Common sense tells us someone is much less likely to be involved in crime if they have a settled home and steady employment.

“Imagine what we could achieve if we stopped building prisons and invested in houses, schools, hospitals and jobs instead.”

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Across England and Wales, 24.3 per cent of criminals ended up reoffending in 2020-21, down from 25.1 per cent the year before. It follows a gradual year-on-year decline in the rate of reoffending.

Mr Neilson said the declining rate is welcome, but added they cover a period when courts were not functioning normally during the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “These figures add additional strain to an already inflated prison population, creating an overcrowded and under-resourced system that fails to help people turn their lives around.”

The figures also show criminals had an average of nearly 19 previous offences, lower than the previous three years but higher than every other year since 2010-11.

In Mansfield, offenders had an average of 20 previous offences.

A MoJ spokesman said reoffending rates have fallen from more than 31 per cent to just more than 24 per cent since 2010.

He said: “The Government is investing in rehabilitation to stop prison leavers falling back into crime.”

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