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 540.

    My younger brother took going to jail very badly.
    He refused to eat or drink, wouldn't speak to anybody and daubed the walls with excrement.
    I won't be playing Monopoly with him again, I can tell you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 539.

    UK 's prisons have too many people who've collected the 'wrong' sort of pictures or drugs, or otherwise fallen foul of our OTT search laws. Yet paedophile rings, big drug dealers, fraudsters, are, in the words of the police themselves, 'too big to touch.'
    Most of Europe is more balanced.
    Goethe said, 'Beware of those who're too eager to punish'.
    Countries who are aren't reducing crime.

  • rate this

    Comment number 538.

    Any drunk who gets arrestes should not go to A&E but to a prison cell where they should recieve "appropriate" treatment. "Feed" and "house" them by all means - but then bill them the costs incurred as it would be a hotel... and of course ALSO a fine for being drunk.

    The place for drunks is not A&E because they often cause trouble.
    The place for true mental patients is in a mental hospital.

  • rate this

    Comment number 537.

    Don't get hung up on that - the vast majority are attention seekers who threaten to harm themselves after consuming some form of intoxicants. Cops can't leave them 'just in case' and they get sued, the hospital won't accept them whilst intoxicated because of the risk of violence/ lack of opportunity to properly assess. They get locked up, sober up, a square meal, assessed by a doc and released.

  • rate this

    Comment number 536.

    I am truly appalled about the number of prisoners who have mental health problems, because in my view, they have been imprisoned for no real fault of their own. If they are mental, the state SHOULD look after them more securely.

    Ask a policeman about their cells -


  • rate this

    Comment number 535.

    The state already does. It's all laid on. Courses in prison, more Public Support bodies, socially funded bodies and charities to provide post-release support than you would believe and yet it still doesn't work.

    Why? They don't want to change - They want all the good stuff that you have but don't want to work for it. They want to lie in bed until lunch, doss all afternoon and no responsibilities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 534.

    Length inside a prison should be what is given by the state.
    A prison is not a rest home nor a place of learning.
    The drug and alcohol dependency should be stamped out completely.
    If prisoners are well below education standards (ie are almost illiterate) they should be given BASIC training.

    Once returned to the community, the state should do their utmost to assist them and prevent re-offending.

  • rate this

    Comment number 533.

    Vote me in charge of prisons and I guarantee no £30k per year keeping Brady & Co alive . The PS3 and pool tables would be replaced by the electric chair and hard labour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 532.

    blimey, not sure theres enough space up north

  • rate this

    Comment number 531.

    Shock News - Prison Works!

    Prison is a punishment and a deterrent against comitting crime.

    Offenders hate being in prison so tell the hand wringers that it doesn't work. So that's punishment sorted.

    Whilst the thieving/ perverted/ violent are banged up they're not committing crime. That's crime reduction sorted.

    Rehabilitation? It's there in prison if they WANT it. Truth is most dont.

  • rate this

    Comment number 530.

    Instead of cutting benefits to needy honest people . how'bout giving criminals real porridge . cut out the nice centrally heated hotel with en-suite TV and let them fight the rats for their bread and water?.

    Oh! that's right criminals have more rights than victims.

  • rate this

    Comment number 529.

    Quite candidly, I'd like to have all the do-gooders, apologists and the PC brigade all banged up ! Britain would be a far better place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 528.

    33.A brief aside
    A retired prison officer tells me of the 85,000 plus in prison circa 60,000 need mental health care & other help.

    Here is proof that Care In The Community hasn't worked - another one of those things to which no politician would ever admit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 527.

    There has to be several elements to a criminal justice system.
    1) Punishment for the crime
    2) Protection for society
    3) Education for the offender
    4) Lowering of recidivism
    Locking someone up solves 1&2 but without doing something about 3&4 upon release the whole sorry saga is repeated. Current policy doesn't always work so trying something else is necessary.

  • Comment number 526.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 525.

    Unfortunately todays serial criminals treat prison like out of work actors
    "Resting" between jobs.
    I care not a jot how far they are away from their own turf, much as they cared little for the victims of their crimes.
    If you make the choice to commit a criminal act don't be suprised when you dont get to pick the location of your incarceration when you get caught, what next brochures ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 524.

    @519 Hundekacke

    If the cap fits, love!

    British nationals are British regardless of their colour or racial heritage. Do you genuinely not understand the difference between race and nationality?

  • Comment number 523.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 522.

    Why do the left wing never think of the victims, why are they apologists for criminals, terrorists muggers etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 521.

    Sadiq Khan - where did they get this joker from? I couldn't give a toss that London prisoners are away from their families and friends. We are meant to be administering punishment not running a social club.


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