The Hon Member for West Ham will be aware that the changes we have made to the probation system include significant changes to our approach to meeting the needs of people in custody.
As a result of these changes and to ensure women held in HMP Bronzefield receive the support they need to reduce the risk of them being released without an address, those staff based in Bronzefield who have transferred to the Probation Service will play the lead role in working with women to assess their needs and ensure that appropriate action is undertaken to meet their resettlement needs, in particular accommodation.
What is new is that we have also commissioned rehabilitative services for women from specialist providers who are based in the community and have the links that will help women when they are released. Whilst these providers may provide this support either by visits or by phone/ video-links, women will benefit from the local knowledge of the housing options in the area to which they will be released and will also have ongoing support from the same organisation on release. This enables continuity of support from prison to community and a prompt response if circumstances change.
Whilst these new arrangements will take time to embed, we believe that this approach will provide the support women need in making a successful transition from custody to community. We will be reviewing how the model is operating over the coming weeks and the Department will continue to work with all our commissioned suppliers, prisons and other partners to try to ensure the resources we have are used as effectively as possible to meet priority needs.