Extra support to help tackle reoffending in Staffordshire and West Midlands was announced today by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling as he unveiled a new resettlement prison.
HMP Dovegate joins three other prisons in the region that will see most offenders who live in the area, being held in and released from prisons in the area. This will mean they can begin working towards their rehabilitation in the community from the moment they arrive in prison.
It will also mean frontline staff outside prison can begin laying the groundwork and building links with the offender at the earliest opportunity. This will include seeing them come out to employment or training, and support to tackle drug and alcohol addictions.
This brings the national total up to 71 across England and Wales, which includes HMPs Birmingham and Hewell, in Worcestershire and HMP Oakwood in Staffordshire.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:
‘This is important for Staffordshire and West Midlands and will help us bring down reoffending rates in the area which have been too high for too long.
‘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.
‘Staffordshire and West Midlands received offenders from up to 54 prisons at the end of last year - this is hopeless. It is little wonder we have such high reoffending rates when you have a prisoner leaving HMP Brixton, and given a travel permit to get them home to Stafford, and then expected to simply get on with it.
‘This approach will put a stop to that and marks a significant step forwards in our reforms to tackle reoffending.’
Our aim is for every offender released from custody to receive statutory supervision and rehabilitation in the community. The Offender Rehabilitation Bill currently before Parliament will extend statutory supervision to 50,000 short-sentenced offenders each year, who will serve their time in custody in a resettlement prison and come out to a tailored package of supervision and support.
Those serving longer sentences will continue to serve their sentences in the most suitable prison to address their offending behaviour and the majority will be moved to a resettlement prison at least three months before the end of their time in custody.
Currently those serving less than 12 months are released without any statutory supervision and often from prisons in a different area of the country from where they will be living. Those serving longer sentences currently could also be released from anywhere in the country, without reference to where they may be living in the community.
The resettlement prisons will be aligned with our new 21 contract package areas (CPAs) across the country, as laid out in our Transforming Rehabilitation reforms. These areas will see private, voluntary and public sector workers bidding to provide community based rehabilitation work in each area. And they will only be paid in full if they are successful at cutting reoffending in their area.
Currently, adult male prisoners are being released to the new Staffordshire and West Midlands CPA from up to 54 different prisons across England and Wales; from 2014 the vast majority of adult male offenders living in Staffordshire and West Midlands will be released from just four resettlement prisons assigned to the area.
Trials will begin in the North West of England in the autumn with full roll out by autumn 2014. We will continue to work closely with communities to ensure the prison estate meets local needs.
Notes to editors:
For further details on our Transforming Rehabilitation reforms
- Reoffending rates for offenders released from prisons in Staffordshire and West Midlands serving sentences of less than 12 months in the year up to June 2011 are as follows:
- HMP Birmingham – 59.6 per cent
- HMP Hewell - 59.7 per cent
- HMP Dovegate – 53.6 per cent
The women’s estate is subject to a separate review announced by the Justice Secretary in January, which will report later in the summer. We have also been scoping how young adults (18-20 years) are managed and accommodated in custody. This work will help shape how we can best meet the needs of young adults through the resettlement prison plans in due course.
- For more information please call the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536.