A few days ago the Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, announced a plan to use third party resettlement experts, paid by results, to help drive down re-offending rates.
The percentage of people who are released from prison and go back to a life of crime almost immediately is horrific. As the Mayor of London’s Youth Ambassador I spent a lot of time working with Feltham Young Offender’s Institution, I was horrified to learn that youth re-offending rates were up towards the 80% level within two years of release.
The costs involved with incarceration are also huge, looking at both direct and indirect costs a prison inmate costs the state up to £5,000 per month, locking people up isn’t a cheap option so we all have a vested interest in making sure that when they are released from prison they don’t need to come back. Many of the people in prison genuinely want to “go straight” when they come out but find themselves drawn back into a life of crime because it is the easier option, finding a legitimate job with a (usually) poor academic record and prison time on your CV isn’t easy.
Chris Grayling’s announcement is a welcome addition to the probation function in the criminal justice system. What happens post incarceration is the link in the chain is least understood by society as a whole and has been the Cinderella service compared to the police, courts and prisons.
I’m very proud that London was one of the trail-blazers of this proposal with the work that we have done at Feltham YOI. I’m confident that rolled nationally this will have a real impact on both the social and financial cost of crime and re-offending