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Juliet Lyon, the director of the Prison Reform Trust, has told ITV News that the Government must ensure prisoners who are freed are better protected to prevent them from quickly re-offending, with so few entering employment upon leaving jail.
The Prime Minister insisted focussing on rehabilitation of criminals is "not wishy washy."
"We've tried just banging people up and it doesn't work," said David Cameron, outlining his plans for criminal justice reform.
David Cameron will later use his first major speech on crime since the coalition came to power in 2010 to distance himself from ever urging the public to "hug a hoodie".
Vicki Helyar-Cardwell, director of the Criminal Justice Alliance, praised the Tory leader's 2006 speech - from which the sometimes derided "hoodie phrase" emerged - for recognising that criminal and social justice were inextricably linked. But she said:
Looking ahead to the Prime Minister's speech, in which he will urge for a "tough, but intelligent" approach to justice, Ms Helyar-Cardwell warned of rising crime costs and said:
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who was appointed by David Cameron to replace Ken Clarke in last month's reshuffle, has said fresh action is essential to cut the rates of reoffending.
David Cameron's plans on crime and justice are undermined by a lack of money, The Guardian has reported.
The newspaper said aides "admitted there would be no additional money to pay for either more prisoners or for extending rehabilitation to more offenders."
Conservative MP Damian Green has said that David Cameron's 'Rehabilitation Revolution' will make prison work.
He told Daybreak: "What's key is allowing this rehabilitation for short-term prisoners, with people with sentences less than 12 months.
"The payment by results will mean that the companies are charged with their rehabilitation and will have a much bigger incentive actuality to be successful.
"So we don't just put them back on the street with no support, they will give them support, so prison does start working."
Conservative MP Damian Green has dismissed suggestions by Norman Tebbit that the coalition government is out of touch 'with real people'.
He told Daybreak: "If you look at what actually matters to people, then the economy is healing, crime is coming down and hospital waiting lists are coming down."
Latest ITV News reports
After a week when good news on the economy was buried under the Chief Whip row, few in the Tory Party doubt it's time for a fresh start.
David Cameron will call for a new "tough but intelligent" approach to law and order today.