This interesting chart was published by the Home Office last year. It shows the two-year reoffending rates of convicted criminals plotted against the number of times they have gone to court or received a caution. As you can see, once they've had three such "sentencing occasions" the risk of reoffending goes over 50%.
The Major and I reckon it underlines the need for our own 3 strikes policy.
Come on Reid - scrap the Probation service (£1bn pa) and get started on those prison places you keep wittering about.