Thousands of crimes were committed by previous offenders in Scarborough last year, figures show.
The news comes as the probation watchdog says criminals sentenced to short prison terms are locked in a “merry-go-round” that leaves the public at risk and costs billions of pounds a year.
Ministry of Justice data shows that, of the 1,479 offenders in Scarborough who were released from prison, received a non-custodial conviction at court, or were cautioned by police between July 2016 and June 2017, 555 went on to reoffend within a year – 38%.
Between them, they committed 2,521 new offences. They had each committed an average of 25.1 crimes previously. The rate of reoffending was even higher among juvenile offenders – 56 of the 100 under-18s (56%) went on to commit another crime within a year of being released from custody, given a non-custodial sentence or cautioned.
A report from HM Inspectorate of Probation highlighted shortcomings in the system for managing offenders in England and Wales.
Earlier this year, Justice Secretary David Gauke said there was a “very strong case” for abolishing sentences of six months or less, with some exceptions, such as for violent or sexual crimes.
Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey said that such a move was “unlikely to be effective without other changes”.
From 2015, every criminal given a jail term became subject to statutory supervision and rehabilitation upon release into the community.
Prior to the change, which was designed to reduce re-offending, convicts who had served less than one year did not have to be supervised by probation services.
But the inspection report found there had been “no tangible reduction” in re-offending.
Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “Chris Grayling’s decision to extend post-release supervision and place it in the hands of private companies has ended in failure, as the Howard League and others warned it would.”