In the Media

High-risk prisoners freed without checks

PUBLISHED September 9, 2006

FOUR out of ten criminals are released before the completion of assessments to determine whether they are a risk to the public, a report by Home Office watchdogs discloses today.

Offenders were sometimes free for ?very lengthy? periods before prison staff, police and probation officers had completed the assessments and decided how they should be monitored.The study found that plans to manage high-risk and very high-risk offenders were completed within five days of release for only half the criminals.

The report was drawn up by Andrew Bridges, the chief probation inspector, Anne Owers, in charge of prison inspectors, and Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief inspector of constabulary. It was commissioned after public anger and Home Office concern was generated by a series of murders committed by offenders on probation.

The report looked at the links between police, prisons and probation and the system of assessments of prisoners. It was found that there was ?a clear need for improvement in about one third of the case work? examined last year.

Mr Bridges said: ?While it will never be possible to eliminate risk, it is right to expect the work to be done to a consistently high standard.?

A Home Office spokeswoman said: ?Since the inspection concluded the completion of assessments on high-risk offenders has increased.?