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Future of Portland Young Offender Institution in doubt
11:23am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
Last month it was announced the YOI would be one of a number of newly-designated resettlement prisons.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said he received a letter from Justice Secretary Chris Grayling confirming that the resettlement prisons for the Devon, Cornwall and Dorset contract package area will be HMP/YOI Portland, HMP Exeter and HMP Channings Wood.
The previous resettlement prison for the area was Dorchester prison, but its closure was announced in September.
Prisoners are transferred to resettlement prisons close to their local area towards the end of their sentence if it is a longer one, or they may spend the entirety of a short sentence in a resettlement prison.
But the Government has since said that a decision would not be made until the New Year–casting doubt on the YOI’s future.
Mr Drax yesterday met the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State (Prisons and Rehabilitation) Jeremy Wright, to ask him to confirm that the YOI prison will be designated as Dorset’s new resettlement prison.
YOI, the Young Offenders’ Institution on Portland, has seen a change in its inmate population over the last year. Formerly housing younger prisoners, the prison is now home to a wider cross section of offenders of all ages from across the South West.
In his meeting with the Minister, Mr Drax was representing the views of a number of interested parties, all of whom are closely involved with the resettlement of prisoners.
He said: “The current Governor, the Dorset Probation Service and the Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, are understandably keen that YOI should be nominated as a resettlement prison.’ “As prisoners reach the end of their term, it is important that they should live as close to their friends and families as possible.
“Research has shown that they are more likely to succeed in the outside world and less likely to reoffend with a good support system in place. That only happens if the support system is relatively close to home.
“The last prison before their release - the resettlement prison – is therefore of the utmost importance to prisoner rehabilitation. If we can keep ours in Dorset, it will help enormously.’ “I am glad to say that the Minister was listening and understood our point. He will give us his answer in the New Year.”
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