The good resettlement work being done at HMP Leicester is being undermined by the high number of men released without accommodation, and therefore unable to take up job offers, says the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) in its 2022-23 annual report.
Employment and housing are known to prevent reoffending. The IMB reported that the prison is working hard with local and national employers to support prisoners into jobs on release, through training, employment fairs and job interviews. But if men cannot get accommodation, they cannot benefit from this. The Board also notes that the increasing number of prisoners on remand, due to court backlogs, affects resettlement work.
The IMB also noted that:
- many cells are in poor condition and other areas require renovation
- there were considerable delays in transferring some severely mentally ill men to hospital; the prison cannot meet their needs, though the Board commends the care given to them
- there were fewer assaults and self-harm incidents than the previous year
- there was an increase in the presence of illicit drugs and mobile phones.
IMB Leicester Chair Trevor Worsfold said:
“The Board is pleased to see the increased focus that governors and staff at Leicester prison are placing on resettling local prisoners into the community, giving prisoners a chance of going straight and thereby protecting the public. For this to be effective they need the continued support of employers, the issues in court backlogs need to be addressed and suitable accommodation provided for those being released.”