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 100.

    I don't know what the answer is but the present system doesn't work. The possibility of prison has never deterred for 2 reasons: 1) they don't expect to get caught, 2) they feel they have little to lose. Once they have been in prison they have even less to lose because there is no attempt at rehabilitation and once out they have few prospects to get a job with so many non-offenders out of work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    @73 tt
    I completely agree. Bring the death penalty back- you kill- you die! if you have taken a life you don't deserve human rights! either that or use them for testing on instead of animals!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    Yes, we should move prisoners closer to home. We should think as positively as we can about the needs of the prisoners and their friends and families. After all most criminals thought a great deal about the families and friends of their victims before choosing to hurt them badly. Didn't they ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.


    I agree with some comments that many repeat offenders have lost their moral compass & any sense of social responsibility.

    Hardened criminals you mentioned can influence impressionable minds within the prison confines, & sexual offenders often meet retribution from other prisoners according to their social code.

    I suppose decades of trial & error in prison reforms have a long way to go.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    We seem to overlook the fact that these people are incarcerated because they are criminals and a danger to the public. In the main they are not and never will be of any value to society and should be treated accordingly, not as though they are victims and society is to blame. They are to blame for their predicament, and should pay the price of their transgressions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    I once worked a day in Strangeways Prison. Terrible place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    @79 martinqueen

    I too lost a family member. It was 27 years ago now, but it never gets any easier. No, the death penalty for his unprovoked murderer would not have bought our Steven back, but, he was out after serving 8 years of a life sentence. He didn't get the life sentence . . . . .We did! It ripped our entire family apart and it has never recovered. Justice? No. The system needs sorting!

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    What people must realise is that it is not, in fact, prison which is the punishment, it is the 'removal from society'. As these people will still be removed from society, it matters little where they are incarcerated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    Society can be judged on how it treats criminals. The level of bloodthristy rage towards offenders on this page is frankly sickening. Yes there are those who should probably be under lock and key for life, but those are few and far between.

    Society that vilifies and harrangs ex offenders, constant reminders of how they're just "not normal" is why we have high levels of reoffending.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.


    Keeping the likes of Psycopaths, sociopaths and paedophiles (for example) together is a bad move. . . . .They would just feed off each others crimes, loading their sick minds with information for if they ever get out. . . . . .They have no conscience, empathy, sympathy . . . .They just don't feel these 'normal' feelings. . . . . . .

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    Sentencing is still a postcode lottery.

    It varys so much depending on where one lives & what court is attended.

    What I think we need is not repeat 3 crimes & then life, but repeat criminals who just cannot be bothered to rehabilitate should be sent to a much harder regime, with LESS comforts & non smoking.

    BIGGEST problem with prison rehab FAILURES is due to EASY access to drugs in prison

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    for over 45 years, the Home Office has used the transfer of priso0ners from one jail to another as a punishment.
    a prisoner in a jail up north will be sent to Parkhurst or Dartmoor. Then before the prisoners family arrive for a visit they transfer the person again, over night.
    And Commonsense........, use glass and walls like the US of @?, why not carry out American death penalties ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.


    Do some research. There have been cases in recent weeks of both examples. Are we locking them up because they are a danger to society?

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    Doesn't it depend what they've done? If a person of good repute has erred and wants to get back to law abiding life asap why shouldn't they maintain contact with family etc in preparation for that? If on the other hand a violent multiple offender simply wants to get back to gang life, drug dealing, raping etc rehabilitation is unlikely.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.


    I've always wondered if an inherent flaw in the prison system is to mix new offenders with repeat offenders & hardened criminals. Prisoners don't just share experiences or methods, but also attitudes & grievances against society.

    There are special prisons like Broadmoor, perhaps segregating prisoner types completely within a prison helps.

    Just an idea, no doubt better views exists.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    We shouldn't be moving prisoners closer to home. We should be moving prisons away overseas ........... it's called outsourcing and has been used in every other profession to make things cheaper!! I say move prisons to where they can keep prisoners cheaply at say $1 a day and then Courts can actually give the proper full sentence to match the crime.
    Stop recycling the same prisoners.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Of course it makes sense for prisoners to have better access to friends and family as part of the rehabilitation process. More local and smaller prisons would therefor be more economical in the long term (not a pun).

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    This is a sensible move.
    Families shouldn't be made the victims also and figures show that having support from families helps reduce reoffending.
    When you also consider the large numbers of prisoners who really shouldn't be in prison, this should help reduce prison population in the long term.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    @71. Prisons do work, The Removal of a persons Liberty and To keep in Custody those committed by the courts.
    There is no magic wand, no magic solution, no magic potion. Want to reduce re-offending? Keep those who re-offend in prison longer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    I see the lefties / PC brigade are out in full force today.

    Many of these people seem to be more concerned about the prisoners welfare instead of the victims.


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