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Limited spaces in community approved accommodation affecting prisoners release

The limited availability of approved premise accommodation is affecting a high percentage of prisoners at Leyhill and delays progression to parole and release. However, the prison has made marked improvements towards strengthening their resettlement work.

In its 2022-23 annual report, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for HMP Leyhill notes that:

  • More prisoners are able to take up external work placements, and consequently prepare for successful release, due to improvements made in processing release on temporary licence paperwork.
  • Prisoners are encouraged to maintain essential contacts with their support networks, through the provision of children and family days.
  • Waiting times for healthcare services are similar to those experienced in the community and prisoner feedback on the service provided is generally positive.

However, the report also highlights:

  • The lack of available places at approved premises remains a justifiable cause of frustration and concern to prisoners. In some cases, this has meant that a prisoner’s release date has been pushed back for over a year.
  • Nearly all of the 65 prisoners serving Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences remain in prison beyond their tariff. The Board regard this as deeply unjust given these sentences were abolished in 2012.

IMB Leyhill Chair, Kevin Masters, said:

“Prisoners at HMP Leyhill are observed being treated with humanity and respect, residing in a safe environment. The staff at HMP Leyhill are seen to provide excellent support and timely responses to prisoners needs. The availability of approved premises, however, causes concern amongst prisoners and can result in progression delays. The location of available bed spaces can change up until the day of release and, on occasion, spaces have been withdrawn. Consequently, a prisoner may not know where they are going to spend their first night in the community until the morning of discharge.”