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Dorset PCC Slams Decision to Move Local Prisoners Away from Families


7:33am 18th February 2014

'Ludicrous' - that's how Dorset's Police and Crime Commissioner has described a move which will see Dorset prisoners house outside the county.

Martyn Underhill has been reacting to news that Dorset's two remaining prisons won't be taking local inmates.

He says that it is harder to support family links and community engagement to prisoners when they are placed so remotely.

"When I was elected, Dorset had a prison estate of four prisons - HMP's Portland, Guys Marsh, Verne and Dorchester. With Dorchester now closed and The Verne designated for Immigration use, 14 months later, we now have two. Neither of these are allowed to house Dorset people in Dorset prisons. It is frankly ludicrous."

"A prison has to be close to a prisoner's community to support family links and community engagement. This will join up the geography of the prison estate with community provision so that voluntary sector organisations can deliver care that reflects their local needs. As Police and Crime Commissioner, providing support to prisoners and tackling re-offending is a key part of my role. Both will be difficult to provide remotely. Prisoners will struggle to maintain contact with their families and the provision of local 'through the gate' services will be adversely affected."

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