Potentially high risk sex offenders are being released from a London prison without adequate efforts to tackle the danger they pose in a failing which will raise new fears about women’s safety, a watchdog’s report has revealed.
The report, by the Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor says that “no accredited programmes” were being provided for the “more than 200” sex offenders held in Brixton prison at the time when inspectors visited.
He says the result is that some potentially high- risk prisoners could still be released into the community without fully addressing their offending behaviour” and that this is a “particular issue” because of the large number of sex offenders held in the jail.
Mr Taylor’s warning will raise concerns that efforts to improve female safety on the streets by better policing are being undermined by the failure of the prison system to tackle the causes of offenders’ misogynistic behaviour before they are released.
It follows another recent report by his inspectorate on Isis prison in south east London which warned that no courses were being provided there to reform inmates there with a history of committing domestic abuse, despite 54 such prisoners being in the jail at the time of the inspection.
In his findings on Brixton, Mr Taylor says that the government had been warned last year that there was lack of educational provision for sex offenders at Brixton “who, without adequate support, could pose a risk to the public when released.”
But he says that despite some improvements since his latest inspection found that “there were still no accredited programmes for prisoners convicted of an offence of a sexual nature and, consequently, some potentially high- risk prisoners could still be released into the community without fully addressing their offending behaviour."
The report also warns that conditions overall at the Victorian era jail, which houses 700 prisoners, largely from London, are so bad that the prison can only work effectively if many of its inmates are let out each day to do work placements.
“A reduction in headcount and an increase in purposeful activity are prerequisites for the prison to provide decent living conditions and realise its potential as an effective London resettlement jail,” he states.
“Ultimately.. the prison can only be more successful if a substantial proportion of its prisoners are released temporarily outside the prison wall each day to work in the community.”
The warning about Brixton follows a recent report on Isis prison which highlighted a similar lack of provision of rehabilitation programmes to tackle the causes of offenders’ criminal conduct.
That report stated that “there were still no interventions to help men address domestic violence, even though the prison currently held 54 perpetrators.”
It also disclosed that “there were 51 prisoners waiting to complete Kaizen, a high-intensity programme for violent offending, but this was not available at Isis” and that “Identity Matters, an individual gang-offending intervention, had .. been paused.”