In April 2016, WestPoint Research submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Justice to obtain information on Cornish prisoners and ex-offenders who are relocated to Cornwall following release from prison. The information requested, included statistics on:
On 31 March 2016, there were 413 Cornish offenders in prisons across England and Wales. The majority (approx. 280) are held in prisons in the South West. However, there are a considerable number of Cornish prisoners held further away, with up to five women serving time in Peterborough prison and more than 5 young offenders held in Wales or the West Midlands.
Between 1 February 2015 and 31 December 2015, 201 offenders were released with an address in Cornwall to be managed by Devon, Dorset and Cornwall CRC or the National Probation Service’s South West and South Central Division. The statistics reveal:
There is a large body of research that documents the challenges that prisoners confront in prison, including substance abuse, mental health issues and family breakdown. It is widely acknowledged that these challenges are exacerbated when prisoners are far the support of friends and family during their sentence.
In many cases, prisoners will leave prison to confront chronic challenges around debt, housing and employment. The FOI statistics show that 90% of prisoners who return to Cornwall are repeat offenders. It is clear there is a disjuncture between offender ‘needs’ and the provision of support upon release that can contribute to meaningful and long-term resettlement into local communities.
WestPoint Research has been commissioned by Konnect Cornwall to evaluate its ‘Re:Konnect Project’ that is being delivered in association with a number of supported accommodation sites in Cornwall. The project provides motivational mentoring and support for ex-offenders to identify key challenges and formulate realistic plans to overcome them in both the short and longer term.