Academic journal article British Journal of Community Justice

Inside Out: The Role of the Voluntary and Private Sector in Providing Opportunities for Rehabilitation for People on Temporary Release

Academic journal article British Journal of Community Justice

Inside Out: The Role of the Voluntary and Private Sector in Providing Opportunities for Rehabilitation for People on Temporary Release

Article excerpt

Clinks and Prison Reform Trust have jointly produced report on Release On Temporary Licence (ROTL), published in January 2016. The report is based on a survey of voluntary and private sector providers of ROTL placements in the community. It finds that recent changes to the ROTL policy have negatively impacted on the ability of voluntary and private organisations to provide work experience opportunities for people on temporary release. Ministry of Justice statistics reveal a significant fall in the use of ROTL since the review of the policy was announced (by then justice secretary, Chris Grayling) in 2013. Between April and June 2015, there were 83, 019 releases on temporary licence from prisons in England and Wales, a decrease of 41% since July--September 2013. This has the potential to be a barrier to effective rehabilitation by reducing employment and resettlement opportunities for people being released from prison.

The report explains that for many people in prison, particularly those who are serving long sentences, the chance to experience ROTL is a key stage in the preparation for their safe release. It enables people to gain training and education, sort out jobs and housing and establish contact with their families, all of which helps them to reduce their risk of reoffending. The report also outlines the relatively very low risk associated with prisoners offending on ROTL: "Less than 1% of releases on temporary licence fail, and, of these, only 6.1% involve an arrestable offence. This is the equivalent of five arrests per 100, 000 releases" (p. 1).

Other key points listed in the report:

* Respondents are confident that ROTL provides significant benefits both to people in prison and to the organisations that provide placements.

* Almost two-thirds (65%) had seen a decrease in ROTL with some organisations reporting that their ROTL placements had "completely stopped" or become "almost impossible". …

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