MP to raise concerns over prisoner resettlement with HMP Norwich

PUBLISHED: 17:02 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 19:25 18 July 2018

Norwich prison. Photo: Angela Sharpe Copy:

Norwich prison. Photo: Angela Sharpe Copy:

Archant © 2009

Norman Lamb MP will meet with the acting governor of HMP Norwich to raise his concerns about a “damning” report which says the prison is failing to support ex-offenders as they return to the community.

Norman Lamb. Picture: Denise BradleyNorman Lamb. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Independent Monitoring Board Report, published for the year to February 2018, details failures in the application of the Through the Gate resettlement policy which are seeing men released from prison without support to integrate back into the community.

Some prisoners are being supplied with tents in a survival pack in place of accommodation, something the report says is totally unacceptable for the 21st century.

The IMB concluded the programme, designed to prepare prisoners for release and rehabilitation “lacks effectiveness and continuity of support”, with prisoners released into the community with no accommodation.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, will meet with the acting governor at HM Prison Norwich and then take a tour of the prison to learn how the Through the Gate policy is being applied, and to find out what steps are being taken to address concerns set out by the IMB report.

Mr Lamb said: “The findings of this report are damning. Newly released ex-offenders, who will be in a fragile place as they try to restart their lives, are not getting the support they need upon release. Providing tents beggars belief. This simply encourages rough sleeping, with all the dangers that entails.

“I am seeking a meeting with the prison’s Governor and a visit of the prison to better understand how we can improve the application of the Through the Gate resettlement policy, to give ex-offenders in Norfolk the best chance possible of reintegrating into the community.

“Many of those leaving prison experience mental ill health. Failing to address this and failing to provide proper support massively undermines attempts to reduce re-offending.”

A Prisons Service spokesman said: “The allegation that we are giving tents to prisoners upon exit is totally false.

“The prison has taken steps to improve its mental health support and the dedicated team is now fully staffed, alongside 60 additional prison officers recruited over the last 18 months.

“CRC services need to improve - we are currently in commercial discussions with providers and will consider all possible options to ensure we deliver this improvement.”

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