23% reduction in ROTL
Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, has always been explicit in his criminal justice policy. He thinks more offenders should go to prison and that the prison experience should feel like a punishment with fewer “privileges”. At the same time, he has based his Transforming Rehabilitation programme on the notion that while in prison, we should do everything possible to prepare people for release to ensure that they do not return.
Therefore, it was a considerable surprise to read the recent (9 March 2015) MoJ statistical release which reported that total number of temporary releases (Release On Temporary Licence – ROTL) had fallen by 23% for the year up to September 2014, compared with the previous year.
Not only are there many fewer temporary releases but the overall number of individuals who were granted a ROTL fell by an even larger 29%.
You can see full details below:
Resettlement in jeopardy
Prisoners are granted ROTL for a range of reasons; but they are almost all connected with planning for successful reintegration into the community. People are released on temporary licence in order to attend interviews for jobs and accommodation, organise training opportunities and rebuild and maintain relationships with families.
By introducing this new restrictive approach to temporary release, the MoJ is seriously obstructing the efforts of the new Community Rehabilitation Companies to reduce reoffending.