Crown court judges and magistrates in Northamptonshire are more likely to send criminals to prison than their counterparts anywhere else in the country, new figures have revealed.
A report, which has criticised the number of repeat offenders who continue to evade jail terms in the UK, has revealed Northamptonshire to have the toughest judicial system in the UK.
The statistics, released today by the Centre for Crime Prevention, reveal 10,443 people came before the county’s courts in 2012 but walked free from court after avoiding a prison sentence.
It meant only 12 per cent of criminals in the county received a custodial sentence in 2012.
Top of the list was Northumbria, where just four per cent of criminals were jailed, followed by Warwickshire, where 4.5 per cent were given custodial sentences.
However, Peter Cuthbertson, director of the centre, claimed the percentage of offenders in Northamptonshire who receive a caution for summary offences was 13 per cent, while 31 per cent received a caution for more serious, indictable offences.
That compared to just 12 per cent of all offenders in Northamptonshire who get a custodial sentence.
Speaking to Chronicle & Echo, he said: “Northamptonshire has the best figures in the country for the percentage of criminals it punishes with a proper prison sentence.
“But there’s still a real problem of overusing punishments that don’t work, such as community sentences and cautions.
“Less than one in eight criminals go to prison in Northamptonshire - but almost one in three serious offenders get off with a caution.”