Chief inspector of prisons calls for more emphasis on resettlement

The resettlement of offenders is not given
high enough priority and suffers from lack of co-ordination,
according to the first report from the new chief inspector of
prisons, Anne Owers.

Owers notes that there is good practice in the
area of resettlement, but little continuity and no overall

Her report, published last week with the chief
inspector of probation, Rod Morgan, says that short-term prisoners,
who form the majority of inmates, have the greatest needs and are
the most likely to re-offend, but are severely neglected.

Prisoners often leave custody ill-equipped for
life in the community and without having addressed their offending
behaviour, states the report, adding: “Unless something is done to
tackle the causes of offending behaviour, and the social and
economic exclusion from which it commonly springs, and to which it
contributes, prisons will continue to have revolving doors and the
public will not in the long term be protected.”

The review stresses the commitment in both the
prison and probation services to make the changes and welcomes
initiatives such as the establishment of the National Correctional
and Policy Framework, as well as common assessment methods for both

The report recommends that the Home Office
provides risk and need assessments, interventions for drug and
alcohol misuse, and appropriate interventions to raise offenders’
motivation to change and address the position of short-term

Educational and vocational opportunities and
assistance with housing, debt and relationship difficulties should
also be addressed.

Resettlement agency Nacro has welcomed the
report and supports the call for a national strategy to improve
prisoners’ resettlement.

Its director of policy, Paul Cavadino, said:
“At present, arrangements to resettle prisoners are haphazard and
under-resourced. Vast amounts of public money are spent on locking
up offenders, but relatively little is spent on helping them to
avoid further crime on release.”

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