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U.K. Ex-Offenders Will Face Mandatory Supervision

Offenders leaving prison in England and Wales will face mandatory supervision for the first time to improve rehabilitation of criminals into society and cut reoffending, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said.

Grayling, who starts a consultation process on rehabilitation today, said mentors will be at the heart of his approach. All offenders, including those serving less than 12 months, will be subject to monitoring and individual rehabilitation on release.

“What we do at the moment is send people out of prison with 46 pounds ($74) in their pocket, and no support at all,” Grayling said in an e-mailed statement. “No wonder we have such high levels of reoffending. It is madness to carry on with the same old system and hope for a different result.”

While the public sector will handle the most dangerous and high-risk offenders, private and voluntary organizations will be asked to close what the government calls the “revolving door” of the criminal justice system by dealing with lower-risk criminals.

Almost half of all prison-leavers are reconvicted within 12 months, and that figure rises to almost 58 percent for those serving less than a year, according to the Justice Ministry. Half a million crimes are committed by convicted criminals each year. Private providers will only be paid in full if they reduce reoffending in their area.

To support the proposed changes, the government plans to set up a nationwide “Justice Data Lab.” Organizations working to rehabilitate offenders at a local level will have access to “high-quality reoffending data specific to the group of offenders they have been working with,” the ministry said. “This will allow them to focus only on what works, better demonstrate their effectiveness and ultimately cut crime in their area.”

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