Justice secretary Ken Clarke has said the "broken penal system" is to blame for the riots that swept across England last month. All this in the wake of his announcement that he is to cut approx 2000 prison places. In an article for the Guardian, he revealed that almost three-quarters of those aged 18 or over who were charged with riot-related offences had a prior conviction. More than 60 per cent of young male thugs and muggers are convicted of another offence within two years of ending their sentence. Three quarters of young male burglars and thieves also reoffend, according to the Home Office figures placed unannounced on its departmental website. More convicts reoffend after release from jail - Times Online Reoffending rates are highest amongst those with short term sentences. How does he intend to reduce crime ? Firstly, a criminal has to be convicted, then their sentence depends on the crime and judge. A 7 year sentence means the criminal will serve 5 but be released after 2 - 3 years. Is this a viable alternative ? Jail scheme slashes re-offending rate | News Prison populations worldwide World Prison Population Rates per 100,000 of the national population Prison populations worldwide (More) BBC NEWS | In Depth UK is midway in the league. Even the famous jail in Arizona run by Joe Arpaio has a number of reoffenders. It seems that comitting crime is a way of life.