Soft justice Britain: 29,000 criminals have avoided prison despite having 25 or more previous convictions

The true scale of Britain’s soft justice system has been laid bare after it emerged 29,000 criminals have avoided prison sentences despite racking up 25 or more previous conditions.

Research from the Centre for Crime Prevention revealed how habitual criminals are routinely avoiding jail terms with some even having received 300 or more previous convictions or cautions.

Data from Freedom of Information requests shows that almost 112,000 criminals, found guilty of at least their sixth offence in 2012 avoided prison.

More than 55,000 avoided prison despite 15 or more previous offences, 29,000 avoided prison despite 25 or more previous offences and 5,692 offenders avoided prison despite 50 or more previous offences.

Peter Cuthbertson, author of the report and Director of the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: ‘The courts are utterly failing to show they take crime seriously.

‘Prison is the only sure way to protect the public from hardened criminals. The most prolific offenders are responsible for a growing percentage of all crime, and locking them up would have a massive impact on the crime rate.