Resettlement prisons introduced in bid to cut reoffending


Justice Minister Damian Green says a scheme in Peterborough has reduced reoffending by 5%

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Offenders in England and Wales will be moved to prisons near where they live before they are released, under plans announced by the Ministry of Justice.

So-called resettlement jails, aimed at cutting re-offending, will house most male prisoners from autumn 2014.

There are plans for 70 such prisons, with a trial of the new system planned in north-west England later this year.

The justice secretary said the current system was "hopeless"; Labour queried how the changes would be funded.

Under the plans, existing facilities in England and Wales will become resettlement prisons.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said it would mean those in jail could start "working towards their rehabilitation" from the moment they were imprisoned.

Prisoners serving 12 months or under will serve all of their time in a resettlement prison and receive a "tailored package of supervision and support" on their release.

Inside a prison cell Ministers want every offender to be supervised on release

The majority of inmates serving longer sentences would be moved to a resettlement prison at least three months before the end of their time in custody, the government said.

"Rehabilitation in the community must begin behind the prison walls and follow offenders out through the gates if we are to stand a chance of freeing them from a life of crime," Mr Grayling said.

"Currently a local area could expect to receive offenders from dozens of prisons across the country - this is hopeless.

'Right direction'

"It is little wonder we have such high reoffending rates when you have a prisoner leaving HMP Liverpool, given a travel permit to get them home to the south coast, and then expected to simply get on with it."

Women prisoners are not covered by the plans and are subject to a separate review, which will report later this year.

The government recently announced plans to make every prisoner in England and Wales complete a year-long period of supervision with private, charity and voluntary sector organisations bidding to carry out the work under a system of payment-by-results.

Start Quote

Prisoners from London are currently scattered all over the country, many miles from their family and friends, making this policy announcement meaningless for them”

End Quote Sadiq Khan Shadow justice secretary

Paul McDowell, chief executive of crime reduction charity Nacro and a former governor of Brixton Prison, said: "We are still sending too many people to prison when they could be better dealt with in the community - especially many of those serving short prison sentences.

"But putting communities at the heart of the criminal justice system through the development of resettlement prisons is a step in the right direction."

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust said: "Resettlement and rehabilitation do matter but, until and unless you reserve prison for serious and violent offenders, you cannot hope to cut sky-high reoffending rates or maintain safe and decent regimes.

"Given the pace and scale of change, ministers focused on developing the justice market could easily lose sight of the solutions that lie outside of prison bars in health, housing and employment."

Labour said it welcomed the idea of resettlement prisons in principle, but said the plans were "another example of reality being very different from rhetoric".

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: "These plans amount to a substantial reorganisation of our prisons system, and it's not clear how it will be funded. Nor is it clear what will happen in London where there is an estimated shortfall of 8,000 places.

"Prisoners from London are currently scattered all over the country, many miles from their family and friends, making this policy announcement meaningless for them."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 80.


    I agree with the death penalty. . . . .. .Years ago, I wouldn't have, but forensic science and DNA technology has come so far, it's pretty much impossible to get away with a major crime now.
    It would be the very best deterrant . . . .You kill someone . . . .You die too. . . .. .My only issue would be the corrupt police out for brownie point promotions

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.


    My father was killed recently in the course of a robbery. I'm still dead set against the death penalty. It's barbaric, inhumane, and it won't bring him back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Forgive me if I'm being naive but I've not been arrested - is the point of prison not supposed to be punishment and to protect society, if our criminals are "working towards rehabilitation" from when they arrive how are we serving justice? Also assuming these criminals are relocated closer to home does that not put them back with all the other local criminals, sounds like a recipe for mob crime

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    martinqueen @64

    Martin, I don't now about perspective, but I think you need to wake up to reality if you think people go to prison for not paying council tax or not sending their kids to school, you have to commit about 20 burglaries before prison is even considered! 8 months if you wond somebody! Get into the real world yourself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    If we spent the amount we spend on the Justice and penal system on decent schools and hope for those who fall into crime we may see crime rates fall. It costs thousands to lock up one prisoner, imagine spending that on training, education and redevelopment. Im not saying serious offenders should not be locked away (sex offenders, paedophiles) but the reoffending rates speak volumes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Perhaps this policy can be extended to send foreign prisoners back to their homelands to serve their sentences there.
    After all it is against their 'human rights' to be away from their culture and rights to use their language.
    Scottish prisoners back to Scotland, Irish prisoners back to Ireland. All in the name of 'Human Rights'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    "Prisoners from London are currently scattered all over the country, many miles from their family and friends..."


  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Isn't it funny that when you mention the death penalty some are against it and don't think its right- yet if a member of their family had their lives taken by some low life scum and they as the family of the victim were paying for the prisoner to eat and have a roof over their heads then I'm sure they would suddenly change their minds...

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    I see the logic here, but I also see the logic in giving them a travel permit to get them home. Why look at women prisoners seperately and why should the VCS mop up the consequences of a spell in prison? Varities and oluntary organisations are already swamped with the flack form our governments war on the poor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    We have some of the highest recidivism rates in the Western world. Prison isn't working, punishment isn't working.

    Punishment isnt working becuase it isnt punishment anymore. The sooner we get back to the days of slopping out and no games consoles / tv's in cells , the better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Let them keep in touch with Facebook, they seem to have every other comfort.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    @38 I work for the prison service, I see it on a daily basis. I talk to the people that this thread is about. Prisoners do the courses, because the courts say they have to, not because they have any interest in changing. Yes there are the one offs, they come in they do their time and we never see them again, but most are on the proverbial revolving door, because thats the life they choose

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    How many people have got drunk and got in a fight?

    If they were all thrown in jail you'd have to build walls round the entire country! Did he deserve it? Yes. Does he need to learn to control his temper? Yes, did he get any help? NO. Would the help he needed be cheaper than more prisons? YES.

    It's your money you are wasting!

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    "We need to change the MENTALITY, get people into training, doing something productive with their time in jail, so that they have the tools and will to contribute to society upon their release"

    Two good points except:
    a) Human rights lawyers will make a killing fighting for "fair pay"
    b) Contribute how? There are so few low skilled jobs now already

    So we do... what?

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    prison is an occupational hazard for some criminals and for others it functions as a hotel. The only way that some people in prison will not reoffend is if they have something to lose besides their liberty. We need to make prison a place that the majority of people don`t want to be and we also need to ensure that people who commit crimes suffer the loss of their possessions as well as liberty

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Can understand the logic behind this, family access to make the person a bit more stable and possible sort themselves out. But, this is a punishment, being locked up in prison, so some restraints need to be in place. The consideration of visiting times, we should use the US system, concrete walls and glass panels between visitor and the prisoner, to stop the passing of drugs and other goods

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    What a surprise - foot stamping outrage that prisoners may be treated like (gosh!) human beings. Our prisons aren't just full of murderers and rapists! Should we be running chain gangs for those who haven't paid their council tax? Bread and water for failing to send their children to school? Some posters could use a healthy dose of perspective.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    @ 37

    further to #38, those quoting percentages have no background in statistics. No scientist, engineer or mathematician would use statistics without qualifying the figures with a breakdown. but many medical staff still use statistics without basis.


    audits were conducted & freely available in public domain.
    Low estimate at £40K pa, support cost at £400 per day.

    per prisoner.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    52. Really, going on a course about "anger management" is not going to help a bad tempered violent drunkard.
    It would be a waste of money doing the course, he would still be a "re-offender waiting to happen".

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Death for murder you say, here's hoping a judge doesn't beef up your manslaughter case and your alibis are good and you don't look a bit dodgy.

    Could it also be that comfort items are earned through good behaviour encouraging a mindset to help them on the outside. As well as helping keep guards and staff safe toboot.

    Keeping drugs out of prison could be a more productive initiative.


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