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More than 60,000 thieves, burglars and other criminals have been granted early release from prison, the Ministry of Justice said yesterday.
Under measures aimed at reducing jail overcrowding, around 2,500 are let out 18 days early every month.
In the two years since the scheme was introduced, 10,000 more have been released than was predicted.
Around 25,500 were expected to walk free early every year, but the total was 62,534 by the end of last month.
Among them were 12,000 violent offenders and nearly 6,000 burglars.
Some 1,300 of those released early have gone on to commit further offences while released, including muggings, sex offences and three murders.
Shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve pledged to scrap the scheme.
He said: 'Releasing prisoners early puts the public at risk and has already led to the loss of three lives. In the next year the number of prisoners released early could rise to almost 100,000.
Liberal Democrat justice spokesman David Howarth said: 'This is a disaster of the Government's own making.
'There have now been 60,000 prisoners released early because ministers chose to sound tough rather than get to grips with the prison overcrowding crisis.
'Instead of releasing dangerous offenders early, ministers must look at more effective forms of sentencing, such as restorative justice.'
Each offender let out under End of Custody Licence is entitled to £7 a day and a one-off payment of £46 because they are unable to claim benefits during their licence period.
Offenders whose sentences are more than four years do not qualify and neither do those who have carried out serious violent offences.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: 'Ministers have made clear they will end End of Custody Licence as soon as there is sufficient capacity to do so.
'We are working extremely hard to build new places, with the fastest ever creation of prison spaces, and when ministers judge it is safe to so do, they will end ECL.
'Those prisoners who present the highest risk to the public are excluded from consideration.
'All prisoners released on ECL would have to have been released anyway in a maximum of 18 days' time. It is for this reason that ECL operates according to precise fixed criteria.
"We are monitoring the scheme carefully. So far recall rate has been lower than expected.'
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