THE YOUNG Offenders' Institution (YOI) on Portland will be one of a number of 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 and 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 entire of a short sentence in a resettlement prison.

Prisoners are able to connect to services including probation and mentors in the local area.

Deputy Governor at HMP and YOI Portland Steve Hodson said: "Whilst the news that Dorchester Prison was to close was a sad one for everyone associated with it, the decision to announce HMP and YOI Portland as the resettlement prison for Devon, Cornwall and Dorset is excellent news for Portland prison and in particular the offenders in these areas.

“This will allow us the opportunity to provide quality resettlement services to prisoners who are to be released back into our local communities.”

He added: “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Martyn Underhill, Richard Drax and Oliver Letwin for their support in making this decision happen."

Mr Underhill said he and others had lobbied the Government for clarity over the issue of resettlement after the Dorchester prison closure announcement.

He welcomed the news, adding: “I welcome the Lord Chancellor's decision to make HMP and YOI Portland a resettlement prison for Dorset.

“It means prison staff at HMP and YOI Portland can focus on rehabilitation into the local community, which is a significant step forward in tackling re-offending and will offer greater support to all offenders.

“I would like to thank the various MPs who have helped me in this journey to secure a resettlement prison for Dorset.”

South Dorset MP Richard Drax said he was 'very pleased' to hear the news.