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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

Big drop in temporary release hinders resettlement

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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.

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:

rotl

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.

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With over 20 years’ experience in the criminal justice sector, Unilink is a world leader in probation and community corrections software applications, as well as prisoner self-service, prisoner/case management and prisoner communications. Unilink’s integrated suite of products provide a complete digital solution enabling efficient running of prisons and probation. Underpinned by biometrics it integrates seamlessly to deliver security, efficiency and value – while being proven to help rehabilitate prisoners.

2 Responses

  1. I’m a bit surprised you haven’t posted the full context. Following a couple of high profile ROTL fails last year, the SOS tightened up the ROTL procedures. From April of last year, amongst other new considerations, a psychology case file review was required for any ROTL risk board to consider release. Administratively, this placed a massive demand on prison psychology departments and substantial delays followed, they were only just catching up at the tail end of last year.
    I suspect the numbers will be closer to normal in subsequent quarters but psychology still seems under resourced.

  2. Thanks Clark for this context which I didn’t know in detail. Although I’d be surprised if ROTL figures bounce all the way back given the fact that more funding cuts are pending.
    I very much hope to be proved wrong.

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