Half of Gloucestershire criminals are re-offending when they leave prison.

Recent figures from the Minstry of Justice show a sharp rise in re-offending rates in the county by ex-prisoners from 33 per cent in 2015 to around 50 per cent in 2017.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl said that half the offenders being released Bristol Prison, are homeless, and that the big increase in re-offending stems from the privatisation of the probation service.

Mr Surl added ex-prisoners will continue to offend if they aren’t supported better on release.

One of Britain’s largest biggest private providers of probation services, Working Links, went into administration in February.

Working Links, Community Rehabilitation Company, was an outsourcing subcontractor that provided offenders welfare and help in finding jobs.

Mr Surl said: “Clearly, the system is broken. The privatisation of part of the probation service in 2015 focused on what the Government refers to as medium to low risk offenders. But these are the people who commit the vast majority of crimes. Things like burglaries and assault that concern people the most.

“As a result, re-offending rates are now well above 40 per cent with the blame often falling on the police who have to deal with the consequences.

“Equally shocking is almost half the offenders being released from Bristol Prison, our nearest prison, are homeless with nowhere to go and little funding – and little evidence of any follow-up to deter them from returning to crime.

“The situation is unacceptable and hardly a good start to getting them back on the straight and narrow.”

A new South West Regional Reducing Re-offending Board has been created crackdown on re-offenders.

It includes the region’s five PCCs, senior leaders from criminal justice, health, the voluntary sector and the Ministry of Justice.