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 280.

    All prisoners should be given a second murder and steal again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    I don't believe you.

    I'm sure you don't.

    You are like many people on here - fingers in their ears.

    I don't advocate stiffer punishment. I just don't want criminals being helped when law abiding citizens are left to rot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    At £30k/year to keep a prisoner inside jail (not to mention the legal costs of the prosecution etc.) we should be doing everything we can to prevent reoffending.

    In fact we should be regardless of the cost, just for the benefit of society.

    I think the whole system of who gets jail terms needs to be looked at. Surely there are more constructive solutions than locking everyone up?

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    When my law abiding hard working father was dying in hospital, the shortage of nurses was horrendous and this really impacted on the standard of care my father got. I counted 2 nurses on a ward of 34 beds at one point. Interesting to watch a documentary about prison, when one eejit was "kicking off" there were at least 10 officers around to restrain him. Where did we go so wrong?

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    Even once-habitual criminals can turn their lives around with the right help. Surely that's what we want?
    In the end what we want is not the point, of course we dont want to be victims. In the end its whether the criminal wants to change that matters. And for those that dont no amount of "talking" will change that but we treat them the same anyway

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.


    If prison is so bad, then justify why so many people commit crimes every year.

    I have been the victim of 3 seperate crimes, 1 of which was more than once. I do not know what it is like in prison, true, but if the thought of being locked up was an actual deterrent then surely it would lead to less crime.

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    We had local prisons which were used just for that purpose for years, the government have decided to close 'smaller' prisons for super nicks. There is also the issue of capacity, prisoners cannot get to a prison that is fairly close to their home area because there is no room. It isn't unusual to find a prisoner having to travel some distance to return to their home area. Can't blame Labour policy

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.


    "but most are on the proverbial revolving door, because thats the life they choose"

    Nothing will change until people like you get it into your thick head that they don't choose a life like this it is thrust upon them by an unjust and unequal society.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.


    I don't believe you.

    "70% of prisoners suffer from two or more mental health disorders
    10% of the prison population has a "serious mental health problem
    10% of men and 30% of women have had previous psychiatric admission before prison". Source: Prison Reform Trust.

    Ironic you advocate stiffer punishment for people who really should be in hospital.

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    Given that most can agree that the current system doesn't work & we're throwing good money after bad. Shouldn't we looking at countries with lower reoffending rates & replicating models that are proven to work? Why are some people so keen to waste more £'s on systems proven to fail?

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    251 "All the trolls and the people who say "Crimanals deserve the death penalty" also deserve to be sent to jail for trolling and taking away human rights" - What human right is that then? The right to commit crimes with impunity? You seem extremely confused.

    253 "You have no idea what prisons are actually like just like most of the right wing NIMBY types" - do enlighten us KK

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    We do not need prisons, courts or police. People can do what they want... a chimp does not have a court in the middle in the amazon??

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    @236 - The problem is not what I believe should happen to prisoners but more related to "How can we help them to no re-offend". Take note that it is not as easy as people think, when apllying for a lot of jobs the CRB check is utilised, against it's original use, thus denying that person ANY chance of rehabilitation and thus leading to more crime. Prison is NOT a cushy number.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    @ #26 marieg39
    ‘How do you expect them to not commit crime when they are left to fend for themselves?’

    Exactly the same way as all the other law abiding citizens in the country who do not commit crime even though they are skint/homeless

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    More pointless headline grabbing propaganda. More tinkering with a system that has already been brought to it's knees by successive Governments that obstinately fail to understand that the only way to stop recidivism is for someone to finally bite the bullet and turn a prison sentence into a true punishment. Thereby a deterrent as opposed to a minor inconvenience.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    Sadly, very few of the PC advocates and politicians have ever experienced crime and live in nice safe leafy areas. I must admit I am always rather pleased on the rare occasions when I hear a politician or MP is beaten up or mugged because it shows them what the rest of us potentially have to put up with on a day to day basis.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    The wrong direction. We should off-shore our prisons to other countries- eg.Turkey or Pakistan. I am sure they could do the job much more efficiently than us and it would help our international relations by providing work and revenue in these countries

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    Far from being a vengeful person as I propose giving everyone two fair chances (see my comment #166) to correct their behaviour I am a pragmatic person who sees with great clarity that someone who is incarcerated for life simply cannot generate any more victims from their criminal behaviour. I fail to see how giving everyone limitless chances can ever reduce victim numbers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    255. Butter
    "You will soon lose your compassion when you have been a victim of crime"

    No, actually. I've been there. It hasn't lost me my compassion for other human beings. Many offenders need help and support, especially those addicted to drugs. Even once-habitual criminals can turn their lives around with the right help. Surely that's what we want?

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    It must be true you read it in the Daily Mail.

    No actually I saw it on a local news programme, where local companies were requested to take offenders over law abiding citizens. The "article" on the programme also went on to detail other help offenders get.

    And yes it is true.

    Again - why should criminals be getting help that law abiding citizens don't?


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