The number of offenders being punished for their crimes is at the lowest level in almost half a century, new figures suggest.
There were 1.58 million people formally dealt with by the criminal justice system between July 2018 to June 2019, compared with 1.86 million in 1970, according to Ministry of Justice data.
Some 1.37 million defendants were prosecuted in the last year, with the number facing magistrates' court down 2 per cent and continuing to fall since 2016.
Prosecutions and out-of-court disposals like community resolutions, cautions or penalty notices in England and Wales fell 2 per cent in the last year, with numbers are at their lowest since records began in 1970.
And the number of criminals sent straight to jail when they are sentenced is also at its lowest level in a decade, falling 6.5 per cent to 75,800.
But the average length of a prison sentence rose to 17.4 months, the highest in the last 10 years, having steadily risen since June 2009 when it was 13.5 months.
The number of suspects on bail after being questioned by police also fell by 10 per cent since June last year.
Meanwhile, police recorded crime rose overall by 6 per cent to 5.3 million offences, excluding some fraud crimes.
Researchers believe this rise is linked to better recording of crimes among police forces and victims being more willing to come forward.
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