More support must be made available to the families of offenders if authorities want to reduce reoffending, a new report has concluded.
A document prepared jointly by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, the Probation Service and education watchdog Ofsted agrees with the view that an offender’s relatives are a key part of their rehabilitation.
Statistics found that just under half of offenders questioned planned to stay with family or friends after they were released.
Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, described the report’s findings as “striking”.
“It absolutely confirms the central importance of an offender’s family and friends to their successful rehabilitation,” he said.
“Sometimes they may be the victims of their crime and sometimes they might be a negative influence.
“However, overwhelmingly, this inspection confirmed our view that an offender’s family is the most effective resettlement agency.”
The report has been prepared ahead of wide-reaching changes to transform the way that offenders are rehabilitated, due to come into force in April next year.
Those serving prison sentences of less than a year will be subject to statutory supervision. In addition, support and provision for low and medium risk offenders will pass from probation to voluntary and private sector providers.
The report, which was compiled using information from 80 offenders around the country, was designed to assess the effectiveness of existing arrangements and look at improvements that could be made when the new system is implemented.
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