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Custodial Treatment: Location

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 12th June 2019.

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Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people who started their custodial sentences in England and Wales in 2018 are in prisons which are over 30 miles from their previous address.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

HMPPS is committed to ensuring, where practicable, that prisoners are accommodated as close as possible to their resettlement communities and families. Whilst this is a priority, it is not always possible due to a variety of factors including wider population pressures, or where individuals have specific sentence planning needs which can only be met at certain establishments. Closeness to home is particularly important for those on short sentences or nearing release, where they need to build family ties, secure housing and health services and look for work. These prisoners are prioritised for being held in prisons local to home. As at 31st March 2019, the number of sentenced prisoners who commenced their custodial sentence in 2018 and are located more than 30 miles from their origin location was 8,911. Around 97% of prisoners have an origin location, which is an address that is recorded in our central IT system. If no address is given, an offender’s committal court address, next-of-kin or discharge address is used as a proxy for the area in which they are resident. Those with no recorded origin are typically foreign nationals or those recently received into custody. No address has been recorded and no court information is available for around 3% of all offenders. These figures are excluded from the answer provided. For the purposes of this answer we have identified all prisoners that had commenced their custodial sentence in 2018. Prisoners held on remand, non-criminal prisoners and those that commenced their custodial sentence prior to 2018 (or since in 2019), have been excluded. Recalled prisoners that commenced their original sentence in 2018, and were released and subsequently recalled, and were held in custody on 31 March 2019 have been included. All data are based on the straight line travelling distance between each prisoners current location and their recorded origin location.

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