Calls for more support for ex-offenders as reoffending rates in Wales increase

Reoffending rates are up across Wales, but not all offenders go to prison. Credit: Niall Carson/PA

Reoffending rates in Wales have increased according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Justice.

Figures from July 2016 to June 2017 show a year-on-year increase of 1.5 on the rate of reoffending from those who were released from custody - received a non-custodial conviction.

The term "reoffender" includes any offender who commits a crime and later goes on to commit another offence.

Across England and Wales the average cost of keeping a prisoner in jail for one year is more than £37,500, although not all reoffenders go to jail.

Gavin Etchell was released from prison last month, and is now working as a personal trainer. Credit: ITV News

Gavin Etchell has been in jail three times, spending nearly a decade behind bars.

He was first sentenced at 15-years-old for grievous bodily harm and robbery. He served four years.

At 25-years-old he was imprisoned again for a drugs offence.

After his second offence, Gavin says he was learning a trade but broke his hand and could not work. When he applied for benefits, he says they did not cover his rent.

Credit: ITV News

Gavin was released from his latest offence last month, after serving a five year term.

This time he says things are going to be different. Gavin gained his personal training qualifications during his time in prison.

Gavin has also received help developing his business from people like Jamie Grundy - an independent support worker for ex-offenders and Co-Founder of InsideOut Wales - a new social enterprise that aims to help ex-prisoners adapt to life on the outside.

Jamie Grundy and Gavin before starting a workout Credit: ITV News

They met while Jamie was researching a book about the football team in HM Prescoed Prison in Monmouthshire.

Jamie says there is not enough support available for newly released offenders to adapt to the challenges facing them.

A Ministry of Justice Spokesperson said the department is working to help more ex-prisoners back into employment.

A report, called 'A Sporting Chance', commissioned by the Ministry of Justice last year argued sport can have a positive impact on reducing rates of reoffending.

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