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 320.

    Norway has one of the lowest re-offending rates in the world because they know they have to rehabilitate prisoners before release. As the former murderer / rapist could become your next door neighbour shouldn't the emphasis be on learning how these other countries succeed? It isn't by sending prisoners on courses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    @305where am I
    Desire for revenge from victims of a crime is completely understandable and I can definatly empathise, but revenge and it's companion emotions i.e hate, is always a negative emotion that does no good to the person feeling it. So while we empathise we should also encourage people to let go of it.
    And rehabilitation is way more pragmatic and altruistic than punishment for society

  • Comment number 318.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    Yet again the needs of those who do the wrong things are looked after. I don't know why I bothered to get an education, work full for a modest wage while working hard and still waiting to find Mr. Right to have children with. It's people like me who fund everyone else except for myself. Besides It's cheaper to house prisoners outside of London

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    #315 Agreed but the results of military jail are biased. The army only sends soldiers to Colchester which it wants to retain (and the max sentence is 2 years). The ones they don't want are court martialled, discharged & serve their sentence in a civvie jail. The ones released from the glasshouse go back to the army...i.e have a job & stability.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    And another thing. There are a lot on here who say we should adopt a system theat works. Well the most efficient system I have ever seen is MCTF Cholchester. When I was in a knew a fair few squaddies who got send there, not a one of them ever wished to go back! It was brutal but it also re-educated, they became model soldiers. Maybe we should adopt a similar system modified for civilian use.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    Reoffending has nothing to do with what's inside a prison; but how it compares to what's outside.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    They have to want to rehabilitate otherwise it's pointless.

    Similar to junkies and alcoholics - if they don't want to give up, don't see that what they do harms themselves and others then you're just urinating in the wind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 312.

    As usual the focus seems to be on the poor old defenceless criminals and those nasty hardened Victims are just forgotten about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 311.

    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.

    It would be an even better idea if prisoners were 1st allocated an address in the Punjab

  • rate this

    Comment number 310.

    297.smog in the mountains

    Or you could look at it another way. Kids from rough coucil estates join the army or become criminals. Middle class kids go to university.

    I know Teesside well, good for you that you found an escape... many don't and I don't judge them like you, I think but for the grace of god...

  • rate this

    Comment number 309.

    Prisons are chocoblock with non violent people who should not be there.

    Don't do the crime then...

    You cite mental illness as an excuse.

    There are MILLIONS of people with mental illness that DO NOT commit crime.

    There are MILLIONS of people in general that DO NOT commit crime.

    Why is it people like you wish to pander to a minority of scum who do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 308.

    Before you start opening more resettlement establishments, get the existing one`s working Standford Hill has 464 inmates, you are able to gain paid employment which then contributes to prisoners earnings act, gaining employment is the easy part getting the company approved takes months that`s why there are only 33 inmates actually working out that's about 8%

  • rate this

    Comment number 307.


    I don't want to sound negative, but international crime comparisons are pointless. Aside from the obvious population differences, there a number of cultural and political variations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 306.

    I think all prisoners deserve at the very least a ps3 with a widescreen TV, and to solve the problem of them living nearer home, build them a shed in their back gardens with a padlock for security, would make it far easier for the families to visit then.

  • rate this

    Comment number 305.

    Just now
    I find it ironic that by basing their opinion on a selfish desire for revenge,
    If its selfish then that person or someone close to them has been a victim and a desire to see that person punished is understandable. If the person hasnt been a victim then its not selfish at all, just pragmatic and more altruistic to society than those that just the society itself

  • rate this

    Comment number 304.


    A/. No one said anything about LIMITLESS chances

    B/. You could see why rehabilitation can work if you were willing to consider the evidence...

    C/. We CANNOT afford to lock every criminal up indefinitely after 2 crimes...

    D/. The US does that after 3 crimes, yet STILL has one of the highest per capita crime rates in the world...!!!

    E/. You have NO evidence........

  • rate this

    Comment number 303.

    I think deportation is still a valid method of incarceration...except we will have to change the destination to somewhere like the antarctic this time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 302.

    As Ewan said @69, this is the life that the majority of these offenders have chosen and have probably been brought up by parents who live life the same way (not all). I don't have any answers to how to change this but life is tough. Working full time (sometimes longer as finding a job that pays enough is extremely hard nowadays) is not easy and a far cry from what these re-offenders are used to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 301.

    Richard 291: What makes you think the Services would want them or have any use for them?

    In the days when we had National Service boys who already had a record were "not accepted" - in fact excused - imagine how popular that was with their law-abiding contemporaries who had to serve.

    And that was a conscript army - professional forces like ours would not look at them.


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