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 400.

    394.Alan Walker

    "Define mentally ill. How do you know an inmate is mentally ill and not just playing the fool?"

    Do you seriously think mental health users spend their time "playing the fool". There is plenty of information online.. You are online.. try 'Googling' . Google mental health and prison.


    You have never been burgled so what would you know. I have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    I wonder how many of the 'Hang 'em out to dry' brigade are equally vociferous in denouncing Sharia law?

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    @386. John N "What is the point in being hard working and honest?"

    Well in my case I suppose it just comes naturally. I don't feel the need to threaten or steal from people and I don't lead the kind of chaotic life that druggies and thieves apear to lead. It means I can sleep soundly knowing I am not a toe rag and that I don't need wet liberals to make excuses for me all the time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    wouldn't it be better to move the prisoners as far away as possible from their family, I would build new prison in the outer Hebrides that way the family and friends will have problems visiting them, no visits might make them think twice about committing a crime, they have committed a crime and should be punished not taken pity on at the tax payers expense, why not give the birch another try,

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    'Joe Bloggs burgling your house because of an addiction is far less damaging to society than corrupt bankers'

    Joe Bloggs has no right to burgle anyones house and your statement about an addiction is nothing more than an excuse to try and defend it.

    Burglary is damaging to both the individual victims and society so don't try to trivialise it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    The problem with the UK justice system is that we've forgotten what prisons are actually used for. They are meant to keep dangerous people off the streets until the authorities are convinced they are reformed. We tend to use prison AS the form of punishment. There are ways to ensure people don't commit the same crimes again without locking them away at the taxpayers expense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 394.


    Judge Dredd, The Punisher, that's my Plan B


    Define mentally ill. How do you know an inmate is mentally ill and not just playing the fool?

  • rate this

    Comment number 393.

    Getting rid of criminal records for first time offenders / minor crimes would do a lot to solve this. It is a worry that, in many cases, for a first time offender the harshest part of a sentence is the lifelong criminal record (The RoOA has no effect for many professional occupations). Having unemployable former convicts on the street is not helping anyone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    386. John N
    What is the point in being hard working and honest?


    Self-respect? Dare I say...pride?

    That's why I do it anyway...

  • rate this

    Comment number 391.

    @389 Well I went to University in Manchester between 2004-2007 when it was still known as the Victoria University but don't let that stand in the way of a perfectly adequate ad hominen attack ;)

  • rate this

    Comment number 390.

    No one owes a debt to society unless that society is inclusive.

    Joe Bloggs burgling your house because of an addiction is far less damaging to society than corrupt bankers. The problem is the system does support victims, it should. The bankers who hoover up all the spare cash leave none left for victims. They leave nothing left for anyone. Comprende.

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.
    @367 Ohhh you studied it at Yooniversity did you? Well you must be an expert then of course...
    After you leave University and live in the actual world for a few years I guarantee you will change your tune.

    AHHH the calling card of the ex-bully at school who couldn;t pass one GCSE and now has a chip on their shoulder about their lack of education and th oppitunities that come with.

  • rate this

    Comment number 388.

    Generally we know the reason behind crime...because they are skint/because they have no job/ because I had a bad childhood- Its all excuses because there are millions of people in the same shoes or even worst that done commit crime! No point in looking at reason behind the crime because its mostly excuses

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    No one has a right to put anyone to prision or I will get my team of Gorrila's to break in and tear down the bars and save them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 386.

    Prison is meant to be a punishment. So now Sky TV, Pool, Snooker close to home no bills and no responsibilty is a punishment. 1guy I know who was inside said it was the best FREE health camp he ever went to. Between this and 1/2 million pound houses custom built for the unemployed the whole system has gone haywire. What is the point in being hard working and honest?

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    Not sure if have the money to afford all this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 384.


    Well you just carry on in your deluded world where you think criminals are victims and are so fluffy and nice they deserve all the help in the world.

    Yes, I'm angry.

    I'm angry because hard working, or people who would like to work hard but can't find work, law abiding people are left to rot whilst criminals get off lightly and people like you help them!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 383.

    @380 I'm honestly glad that you have seemingly turned your life around. Millions of people in the world do not commit crimes and do not go to prison. If someone cannot do what these millions of other people manage then they do not deserve any sympathy. I do however believe that once your debt to society is paid it shouldnt necessarily hang over you for the rest of your life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 382.

    My father works with newly released long term prisioners in a "half way house" run by the Probation service. Tenants are on curfew & bound by restrictions under licence. Most of them will try and flout their restrictions...its human nature to do so I suppose. But my Dad & his colleagues give lots of practical support and majority of the tenants leave better placed to live life outside prision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 381.

    ahwasright - yes, the rash statements of a recently traumitised person are obviously very well thought-through.

    Anyway, I would feel a sense of pity that they had endured circumstances that pushed them to commit such actions and consider myself fortunate that I have the luxury of condemning without compassion as I have never been exposed to any particular hardship.


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