Headlines: February 7th, 2002

Prisoner-focused case management and joint working between agencies are the crucial elements of a new strategy to improve resettlement of discharged prisoners. The strategy is designed to address the problem of social exclusion and reduce the high rate of re-offending, currently running at 3 out of 5 prisoners re-convicted within 2 years.People entering prison typically experience high levels of social exclusion. Two in three are unemployed, and half have run away from home as children, used drugs in the last year and are not registered with a GP. This contributes to the high levels of re-offending. To reverse this social exclusion there will be better coordination between the Prison and Probation Services and other agencies such as housing, employment and education.

A needs-based case management approach will put the discharged prisoner at the center of action and all the agencies concerned will play their part in the re-settlement process. This multi-agency approach will be built up gradually.

The strategy will be driven by a new Board for Correctional Services bringing together the Directors General of the Prison and Probation Services, the Chair of the Youth Justice Board, non-executive directors and Home Office officials. It will monitor performance, review allocation of resources and encourage joint working.

The Board will be supported by a Standards Unit which will have the task of identifying and spreading best practice. The Unit will be modeled on the Police Standards Unit recently set up to improve police performance. The Standards Unit model was devised in the former Department for Education and Employment where it played a significant role in driving up performance in schools.

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