Prisoners vulnerable to addiction who have served their sentences will no longer be released on Fridays at HMP Portland under new plans to reduce recidivism and make the streets safer.
The government’s decision this week is part of sweeping reforms aimed at reducing crime and protecting the public.
It will give vulnerable offenders, such as those with addictions, mental health issues or homelessness, who are at risk of re-offending, more time to get health, housing and employment support before the weekend. end – when many services are closed.
Following this, Jo Farrar, chief executive of HM Prison & Probation Service, wrote a letter outlining how this will support staff at HMP Portland.
She said: “Since I took on this role three years ago, I have visited many prisons and met hundreds of prison guards.
“I witnessed the commitment and enthusiasm of the staff and the great team spirit.
“Being a prison guard can be difficult, but it’s also very rewarding and there are lots of opportunities for training or progression.
“Whether you want to become a manager, specialize in working with vulnerable prisoners or train as a physical education instructor or dog handler.”
Figures show around one in three offenders currently leave prison on a Friday – leaving them with just a few hours to arrange a bed for the night, register with a GP and sign up for help job to keep them on the straight and narrow before services shut down for the weekend.
This race against time can result in ex-offenders spending their first days on the streets with little support, which increases the likelihood that they will commit further crimes.
A spokesperson for HMP Portland said: “This is great news and will further support our prison staff across the country, including at HMP Portland, who work tirelessly every day to guide offenders to a fresh start at the outside.”
As part of a package of prison reforms announced on Tuesday, which also includes a £25million investment in security measures, the release of some offenders from Portland prison will be brought forward by up to 48 hours to prevent them to immediately return to a life of crime.
The money will also be used to increase the number of special machines capable of detecting microscopic smears of illegal substances such as spices on prisoners’ mail, preventing dangerous drugs from entering the wings and wreaking havoc.