THE number of criminals sent back to jail for breaching their licence leapt 47 per cent in three years.
A damning report also slammed ministers for spending billions on reforms.
In 2013 ministers handed control of rehabilitating convicts to private firms.
But the National Audit Office said those returned to jail shot up by 47 per cent between January 2015 and September 2018 — from 4,240 to 6,240.
From 2015, every criminal given a jail term was placed under supervision when released.
Previously, those who served less than a year were not supervised.
The NAO said many of the community rehabilitation companies (CRC) missed targets.
We have seen the number of people on short sentences recalled to prison skyrocket
NAO boss Amyas Morse
It blasted the Ministry of Justice for using “ineffective” contracts and rolling out the reforms too quickly.
By last March these private contractors had clocked up £294million losses, said the NAO.
Ministers have torn up the contracts a year early, leaving a £171million bill.
NAO boss Amyas Morse said: “These failings have been extremely costly for taxpayers. We have seen the number of people on short sentences recalled to prison skyrocket.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling led the reforms while at justice.
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Meg Hillier, of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “In its haste to rush through the reforms the Ministry has failed to deliver what it promised.”
Justice Minister Rory Stewart said: “The performance of CRCs is too often disappointing.
“We have stepped in to end contracts early and invested an extra £22million a year in services for offenders on release.”
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