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Managing Offenders on Short Custodial Sentences
HC 431, Report by Comptroller and Auditor General, Session 2009-10
- National Audit Office (NAO)
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
More than 60,000 prisoners serve sentences of under 12 months each year at a cost to National Offender Management Service (NOMS) of around £300 million. These prisoners tend to have more previous convictions than other offenders with an average of 16 previous convictions each and, as a group, they also have a high level of homelessness, joblessness and drug and alcohol problems.
NOMS is successfully keeping the vast majority of short-sentenced prisoners safe and well - a notable achievement in a time of prison overcrowding - but is currently struggling to manage this group effectively, in part because most spend six weeks or less in prison. However the provision of daytime activity for them is generally inadequate to meet HM Inspectorate of Prisons' standards for a healthy prison.
The NAO found that one half of short-sentenced prisoners are not involved in work or courses and spend almost all day in their cells. Prisons offer a range of courses and other activities to reduce re-offending; but waiting lists are too long. Prisons often do not match prisoners with appropriate assistance.
Only a small proportion of prison budgets is spent on activity intended to reduce re-offending by prisoners on short sentences despite the fact that 60% of such prisoners are reconvicted within a year of release, at an estimated economic and social cost of £7 billion to £10 billion a year. The NAO argues that NOMS could achieve greater value for money by improving prisons' work with these offenders.
|Format||Paperback||Published||10 Mar 2010|
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