Britain’s courts are experiencing a massive surge in prosecutions for sex offences following the denouncement of late TV presenter Jimmy Savile as a predatory paedophile, and the successful prosecution of Asian grooming gangs in Oxford and Rotherham, the Justice Secretary has said. Eight British prisons have been turned over to specialising in rape and sex offences.
Speaking to an audience at the Centre of Social Justice yesterday, the Daily Mail reports Justice Secretary Chris Grayling as saying: “Probably the biggest challenge has been an unexpected turnaround in the trends in our courts. Particularly with regard to sex offences.
“The aftermath of the Savile revelations and the dreadful events in places like Rotherham and Oxford have led to a substantial increase in the number of sex offenders in our courts.
“Talk to any judge and they will say our courts are full of them. More have been arriving in our prisons and they have been staying there for longer than typical offenders.
“So from a point when we were seeing a steady decline in population, we are now seeing a fairly rapid increase.”
Following the revelation of Savile’s crimes, police and prosecutors apologised for not taking allegations against Savile made when he was alive more seriously. They also assured the public that they had learned from past mistakes.
According to analysts, many more victims are deciding to come forward, including some reporting crimes which are decades old. Last week’s crime figures from the Office of National Statistics revealed that 24,043 rapes and 48,934 sexual offences were recorded by the police in the year to September 2014; the highest figures on record. Statisticians at the ONS cited the “Savile effect” as a cause for the upswing in numbers.
The Ministry of Justice has put the figure for the number of sex offenders currently behind bars at more than 11,000. But there has been an increase of 650 inmates, or about five percent, in the last year. Consequently, more than one in eight inmates are now behind bars for sexual offences.
Records show that the average length of jail time is also on the increase: in June 2011, four months before the death of Savile, the average sentence for a convicted sex attacker was 55.1 months, but that had risen to 59.7 months by June of last year.
As a result, eight prisons have been converted or opened to cater exclusively for paedophiles, rapists and sex offenders. Prison officials say that having specialised prisons makes it easier to treat inmates, including through the use of anti-libidinal drugs, which suppress sexual urges.