Prisons sign government pact to help freed inmates

A former inmate has spoken out over security and drugs issues at Hollesley Bay, Suffolk Picture: SAR

Hollesley Bay prison has joined a new initiative to help freed inmates assimilate back into the community - Credit: Archant

Prisons near Woodbridge and Thetford have become the first to join a government scheme to cut reoffending by easing the transition of freed inmates into the community.

Hollesley Bay and Wayland prisons have signed a joint agreement with the government to improve the chances of offenders securing work and successfully integrating into the community upon release.

Billed as the first contract of its kind, the 'Local Partnership Agreement', between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), sets out a shared commitment to support offenders in preparation for release and ultimately reduce the £18billion annual cost of reoffending to the taxpayer.

It forms part of national partnership agreements to support businesses by increasing opportunities and moving unemployed people into sustainable jobs.

Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said: “We are proud to be joining forces with HMPPS through this unique partnership, and together we remain committed to ensuring prison leavers stay out of jail for good.

Colchester MP Will Quince Picture: SU ANDERSON

Colchester MP and Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince - Credit: Su Anderson

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“Our dedicated teams of Prison Work Coaches are passionate about finding work for prison leavers. Preparing them for employment and life back in the community before release, we know, can make a life-changing difference and help free them from crime.”

Under the agreement, each partner will set out their defined roles and statutory responsibilities, but must work together to ensure the most effective joined-up approach between services.

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Each local agreement will be tailored to the individual prison, with quarterly meetings and regular reviews.

The national rollout of a phoneline aims to help support prison leavers with Universal Credit claims ahead of their release.

DWP district manager, Julia Nix said: “Everybody deserves a second chance. Many prison leavers want to make a change on release and return to a life of work, and that has to be beneficial for the economy.

“Together with support from HMPPS, we encourage, support and prepare prisoners for employment because we know that a job can help turn their lives around and lift them from poverty, and that motivates us every day.”

Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer said: “Helping prisoners find work is a crucial part of turning their lives around and cutting crime.

“This new partnership will mean prisoners are able to prepare for employment while they’re getting ready for release – benefitting them, the economy and society as a whole.”

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