Enabling prisoners to take responsibility for their own resettlement is key to helping them address the challenges they will face on release and reduce their risk of reoffending. This is the main message of the Out for Good report published by the British Prison Reform Trust. Effective resettlement – the successful re-integration of people after prison – is a linchpin for reducing reoffending. However, while prisoners hope to be out for good, almost half of the adults released from prison are reconvicted within one year of release. Factors that contribute to these high rate: drug addiction, being homeless at the time they go to prison, having no job or educational course when leaving prison (64% of all released prisoners) and not being able to read (48%), count (65%) and write (82%) at the level that an 11 year old is expected to do. Key to effective resettlement is a commitment by prison staff to work closely with the prisoner not just to do things to, or for them.
Alongside controlling risk and managing cases, prison staff and support services need to share responsibility with the person preparing for his or her resettlement. Prison staff should enable offenders to make choices about the practical challenges they will face on release, and support those choices with appropriate help and advice.
The report also recommends that the Ministry of Justice should work across government departments and local authorities to put in place housing, employment, health and social care and family support which are pivotal to successful rehabilitation.
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