A damning report has discovered that sex offenders are being housed in well know budget hotels, sometimes without the knowledge of the guests or owners.
The prison and probation watchdogs said that not enough was being done to protect the wider public from sex offenders.
Probation officers were not conducting sufficient safeguarding checks – including those done to protect children, inspectors found.
The chief inspector of probation, Dame Glenys Stacey, said: “Sexual offence convictions are increasingly common, yet despite evidence that we can reduce the risk of these individuals reoffending, little if any meaningful work is being done in prisons.
“With many probation staff unsure what to do for the best with sexual offenders under probation supervision, the public are not sufficiently protected. This makes no sense.
“There needs to be a renewed national effort to make sure all reasonable steps are taken to protect the public. Prison and probation staff need better training and support, and the opportunity to work with offenders in ways known to reduce the risk of reoffending.”
There are currently 13,580 prisoners serving jail terms for sexual offences, nearly a fifth of the total prison population. A similar proportion of the 106,819 probation cases nationally are sex offenders.
The joint report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons said: “We expect prison and probation services to work with sexual offenders to reduce the risk of them reoffending and to protect the public from harm.
“In the cases we inspected, not enough work was being done, either in prison or after release, to reduce reoffending or to protect the public.”
It went on: “In too many cases in prisons we found that little, if anything, was done to reduce the likelihood of reoffending, particularly in cases that were not suitable for an accredited programme (a course to help stop reoffending).”
The Ministry of Justice said budget hotels were a last resort used when there are issues with probation hostels, adding that full risk-assessments were carried out.