As Russell notes:-
The proven reoffending rate for adult offenders starting a court order (Community sentence or Suspended Sentence Order) was 33.2%, a fall of 6.7 percentage points since 2003, and a decrease of 1.0 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months.
The proven reoffending rate for adult offenders released from custody in October 2013 to September 2014 was 45.5%. This represents a fall of 6.0 percentage points since 2003 and a small increase of 0.1 percentage points compared to the previous 12 months. Since 2004, the overall rate for those released from custody has remained relatively stable at around 45% to 49%.
The rate for those released from short sentences has been consistently higher compared to those released from longer sentences. Adults who served sentences of less than 12 months reoffended at a rate of 59.7%, compared to 33.4% for those who served determinate sentences of 12 months or more.
The trends for those released from short and long sentences have both remained broadly flat since 2005 and are consistent with the overall trend.
So, here we have yet more confirmation of the extremely weak case the government had to set about completely smashing-up the probation service that was performing well at the time. The probation privateers would do well to take note of Russell's somewhat under-stated conclusion:-
As we have seen, these rates have more or less stabilised over the last decade although it is interesting to note that the drop in reoffending for those under probation supervision may make payment by results targets for the new private probation providers more difficult to achieve.