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Over 150 rapists freed early from UK prisons raped again

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Comment on and summary of story from Daily Mail, July 2, 2011

The Daily Mail is outraged again – I know that’s nothing new, but this time it’s with good reason.

It reports that more than 150 convicted rapists who were freed early from prison in the UK went on to rape again in the last five years.

Since 2006, a total of 154 convicted rapists have been jailed a second time for the same crime, meaning that repeat sex attackers are responsible for around one in every 30 rapes.

The official data from the Ministry of Justice also shows a sharp increase in the numbers of rapists released from prison every year, and that more are serving less than half their sentence.

The figures were revealed in response to parliamentary questions by Conservative MP Priti Patel. Last night she said: ‘The public will be astonished and alarmed by these facts.

‘This is more evidence that these people should get longer sentences to be kept off the streets.

It is concerning that some of these rapists are being released too early and then going on to commit more crimes and causing untold extra trauma for their victims.”

Anti-rape campaigners said the protections put in place to stop dangerous criminals reoffending were obviously not working.

Angie Conroy, of Rape Crisis, said: “It may cost more for longer sentences and better offender programmes but the alternative is the cost to society of more rape attacks.”

The Ministry of Justice statistics show that a total of 4,960 criminals were convicted for rape attacks in the last five years.

Of those, 154 – around three per cent – had already been convicted of rape. More than one in ten had a previous record for some form of sex attack.

The figures also show a total of 769 rapists were released from prison last year, compared with 515 five years earlier.

Sentencing rules mean anyone sentenced to a fixed prison term short of life is automatically released at the halfway point.

There has also been a sharp rise in the number of offenders let out without having served even half their jail term.

Last year 86 rapists served less than 50 per cent of their sentence, compared with just 15 in 2001.

It’s not often I agree with both the Daily Mail and a Tory MP, but hard to disagree with what they’re saying here.

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