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 300.

    278. southwestsam

    Trust me, 37 years Prison Service experience tells me that there's almost nobody in prison who doesn't need to be there, for punishment,access to offending behaviour programmes, but mostly the protection of the public.
    Very few are first-time offenders, with the huge majority having previously failed miserably in response to a plethora of community-based punishments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 299.

    I find it ironic that by basing their opinion on a selfish desire for revenge, greater physical punishment for offender and even death, those who disagree with policies like this are thinking more like the criminals than the people who use concepts like forgivness, redemption and rehabillitation to argue that the policies are good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 298.

    It beggars belief that this is not already being done.

    Not every convict wants to turn their lives around, but the current system hinders those who do. Many studies have show the benefits of retaining links with family whilst inside & 'joined up' support pre- and post-release.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    Those who defend the criminals saying society is to balme I say b******s. I grew up in the 80s on Teesside, one of the most depressed areas of the country, I came from a broken home, my family were poor and my step father was an overbearing abusive bully, all the excuses the left trot out. Yet I got off my ****, joined the army and did something with my life. Stop making excuses for them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 296.

    While I agree with this idea in principle, I am baffled that prisoners who serve sentences over 12 months will only be moved to a prison nearer their family in the last 3 months of their sentence! More shocking, however, is that there will be different plans for women prisoners- is it not more likely that they are single carers for their children and if anything should at least be treated equally!

  • rate this

    Comment number 295.

    275.Alan Walker

    Im not trying to justify anything. Tougher punishment and prisons do not deter criminals in any country on planet earth including those with the death penalty. Prisons are chocoblock with non violent people who should not be there.

    Yes of course we need to "grow a pair" Can I borrow your earings dear.

  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    Does this mean foreign nationals will be moved to a prison in their home country before release.
    If we agree to take our crooks abroad back on the same basis we could all be winners.

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    192 Mark, you are changing the subject.

    Do you think people who are acquitted but may well be killers should remain locked up? Yes or No?

    Because they are the only killes whom the courts set free.

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    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.

    Not always true, I was born into poverty, I have dealt with mild addiction, I have built myself up from nothing. It takes willpower and a drive to better yourself. If I can do it, anyone can

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.

    Some people may not like what I am about to say:

    BUT people that commit this crimes are often repeat offenders, the only why they will learn respect is National Service. The armed forces will give them something to look up too and by joining the army they will be taught a profession and most of all respect towards others.

    I am not saying give murders guns, but minor crimes should be targeted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 290.

    For petty criminals I agree but for the remainder I doubt that any 'nice ' treatment will change their mindset in prison or when they leave..

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    @232. Dolphins are the Best
    What is with all these trolls and nasty messages on this article?? WHERE IS YOUR COMPASSION!!
    Answer = with all victims of these criminals

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    243. ravenmorpheus2k
    Offenders have a parole officer that get them guaranteed interviews for employment, a home if they need it, help claiming benefits and lord knows what other "help".

    That self-righteous bleat demonstrates just your total absence of any knowledge of the system. Parole service 'help' with NONE of those and obtaining an interview as an ex-offender, vis irtually impossible !

  • Comment number 287.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    Again I'm not surprised the BBC comments are dominated by wishy-washy, limp-wristed socialist liberals who bleat and bleat about 'human rights' for the people who choose to take themselves out of law abiding society.

    How about you all grow a pair and treat criminals in the way that their choices have led them to be treated. Very few criminals have no choice but to become criminals these days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    could start "working towards their rehabilitation" ???

    Quite a lot of these prisoners are in prison precisely because they don't want to work towards anything to start with....easier to steal it. They get all the courses to get jobs but don't want to work while people on the dole get penalised for not finding jobs that aren't there. Once again looney liberalism at work!

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    270.HopeFades @ The right to live, silly billy. Where you not taught the ulimate human right at school when where are a tiny winy 8 year old??

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    I fairly recently had to visit Wakefield prison as part of my work.

    If you honestly consider that place a "holday camp" then would you mind providing me with some details of where you take your holidays? So I know where to avoid?


  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    @ 271 sadistic revenge fantasies really get people going on here it seems, screw the results they want blood and don't care about the consequences. i imagine the ideal result for them is a 10x higher offending rate and punishments live on tv so they can really get off on it.

    basically the attitude of cavemen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    269.Dolphins are the Best
    'a chimp does not have a court in the middle in the amazon'

    That's because they live in Africa.....and their main judicial building is located in Equatorial Guinea right next door to the department for bananas


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