Resettlement is the process through which prisoners and prisoners’ families are offered assistance and support from both the Prison and Probation Services, and other voluntary organisations to help in their preparation for life after their time in prison. This can include advice and information about their entitlement and access to benefits, training for jobs, further education, work experience and preparation for release. The objective in this is to help prisoners to have a normal life once released, get a job and somewhere to live, and generally cope with their life without being drawn back to crime. There are a range of steps that are involved in achieving this goal.
Preparation for Release
Prisoners may be asked and encouraged to attend groups or courses to help them with whatever behavioural and social problems they might have. This includes programmes designed to deal with issues such as alcohol or drug abuse, gambling or finance management, depression or mood swings, aggression or lack of anger management ability, or sexual matters.
The Prison Service offers a number of courses specifically related to problems they may face after their release. As well as helping with employment, benefits and housing problems, they also cover subjects like health, drug and alcohol abuse and having a successful home life with the prisoner’s family. Further advice and courses are offered through other agencies dealing with training and education, financial advice and counselling, as well as covering many of the same areas addressed by the Prison Service’s own courses.
Resettlement Prisons and Units
These specially created facilities are designed to help current prisoners, in particular those serving lengthier sentences, prepare for their release. As part of the programme some prisoners may be able to go outside the prison for training or to work and come back to the prison when they finish for the day. This allows for easier reintegration into the outside world and is another step to ensure that obtaining employment will be easier for the inmate after they leave prison.
Working within and for the benefit of the local community is aimed at giving prisoners a chance to build up their self-confidence and at the same time develop their sense of social responsibility. The work prisoners carry out can include local environment and cleaning projects, working with people with disabilities or who are elderly, sporting activities and fund-raising for charities and community groups.
Job Clubs and other preparation for employment
Some prisons have within their facilities job clubs where inmates can go to receive advice and guidance on how to look for jobs, including being taught how to prepare a CV and how to develop good interview technique.
Money and Benefits
In addition to the other advice and information given, prisons work in close partnership with the Jobcentre who can help prisoners with benefit claims and will advise on which benefits people will be eligible for when released and how to go about making the applications. Upon leaving prison, prisoners may be eligible for money as well as a discharge grant used to help them secure accommodation when they return to the outside world.