NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR PRISONERS
The Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme introduced new arrangements for the provision of resettlement services for all prisoners leaving custody.
In the past, these services had been delivered inconsistently and standards were patchy across the prison estate. The new programme gave responsibility for resettlement programmes, for all prisoners in designated resettlement prisons, to Community Rehabilitation Companies. For the first time, a community-based provider would be responsible for designing and delivering resettlement services to a clear, standard specification.
Given the short timescales between taking responsibility for five new Community Rehabilitation Companies and the arrangements coming into effect, we had just five months to design and implement the new services in 19 prisons across our five Community Rehabilitation Companies.
Rehabilitation and resettlement services
The new service was delivered through three partners – Shelter, Catch22 and St Giles Trust - organisations with strong track records in providing rehabilitative and resettlement services to offenders.
All prisoners released from the 19 resettlement prisons in which we are providing resettlement services now receive a personalised plan based on their needs covering advice and support on accommodation, finance and getting into work. In addition, we provide:
- Intensive post-release support for the hardest to reach offenders
- Tailored support for women, to meet their specific needs
- Support for victims of domestic violence and for former sex workers
- Rent deposit schemes to support prisoners into appropriate housing
- Meet-at-the-gate mentoring services for appropriate prisoners
IMPROVED SERVICE FOR PRISONERS
Despite the tight timescales required for mobilisation, we achieved a contractually compliant service in all 19 prisons, as required by the Ministry of Justice, on 1 May 2015.
A year into the service, 90 per cent of prisoners in Cheshire and Greater Manchester and 93 per cent of prisoners in Merseyside are released in settled and secure accommodation. We have developed strong relationships with all of the prisons we are working with, through local service integration groups and effective day-to-day operational liaison.
We are committed to developing the service over the lifetime of the contract and are working with our delivery partners, and with the Community Rehabilitation Companies, to enhance the service to improve outcomes for prisoners.