Back to Jail: Crime and Punishment

Back to jail

Reoffending is one of the greatest challenges faced by the criminal justice system. It’s the measure of success, the indicator of whether prison, probation and the system overall are effective in keeping us safe. Around 60% of people leaving prison following short sentences will reoffend within a year. It’s an issue that successive governments have grappled with. Repeat offenders create havoc and a disproportionate amount of crime, creating victim after victim as the system struggles to control them. This episode of Crime and Punishment follows the journeys of three of Hampshire’s prolific repeat offenders, who are all trying to reform their lives after their release from prison. How will they cope living on the ‘outside’? They’re supported by probation and police, doing the best they can, but at the time of filming, within a new and compromised probation system that leaves officers overwhelmed with large caseloads and fewer resources. And when it’s the job of probation to manage and assess the risk posed by offenders in the community, the consequences of mistakes can be disastrous. Johnathan has 44 convictions and he’s a serious risk to the public. As Police Offender Manager Steve says: ‘Sober he’s nice guy, but with alcohol in him, he’s a bit of a monster – he’s horrible. He can be violent. I’ve never seen a change in anyone really like him.’ Daniel, from Dorset, has been homeless and struggling with addiction since he was 15. His list of offences includes illegal drug use, petty theft and violent behaviour. He’s managed to go clean in prison, but needs support. But there’s a huge housing shortage, so Daniel is leaving prison with nowhere to go to. And for Lewis, whose previous includes convictions for serious violence, substance use is a major issue. His Probation Officer Kate Etherington explains: ‘We have a lot less time and a lot more pressure, so there’s a lot less resources that we can put in to working with someone like Lewis.’ 

Back to Jail: Crime and Punishment – Wednesday 10pm on Channel 4