Work in Prison
Offenders who are given a prison sentence (more than 12 months) must serve the first part of their sentence in prison and the second part in the community.
In the community the Probation Service will supervise them under licence. Each of the four prisons in West Yorkshire has its own team of probation officers who work directly with the prisoners inside. In many ways the work done with these prisoners is similar to the work done with offenders serving community sentences.
In addition, prisoners have to be prepared for their release into the community - a process known as resettlement. Probation staff throughout West Yorkshire work closely with the probation staff in the prisons to plan for the offender's return to the community to ensure the safety of the public.
Probation work inside the prisons
Probation staff work in every prison around the country. They work with prison staff to plan a structured sentence for the offender while they are inside. They also liaise with probation officers in the offender's home community to devise a plan to help the offender settle as effectively as possible back into the community.
Work with offenders in prison includes:
- Running Accredited Programmes.
- Assessing the risks posed by offenders to themselves, to fellow inmates, and eventually, to the public on release.
- Contributing to sentence-planning.
- One-to-one work with prisoners to deal with any issues they may have.
- Parole assessments, including contacting victims to allow them to add their voice to the hearing.
- Providing links to outside agencies.
One aim of this work is to provide prisoners with new skills or to improve existing skills, which will reduce the chances of further offending when they are released. Practical help is given to prisoners in finding suitable work and accommodation for their release.
Being on licence involves the offender keeping in contact with a probation officer and abiding by certain restrictions on their movement or behaviour. Any offender who breaks the rules of their licence will be returned to prison to finish their sentence.
The restrictions they are given on leaving prison depend on the seriousness of the crime. For example, less serious offenders may be released early but be electronically tagged until their licence runs out. More serious offenders often have to start their licence period in a Probation hostel (Approved Premise) where the regimes and controls imposed offer greater protection to the public.
Those on life sentences released into the community remain subject to a life licence for the rest of their life. If their behaviour deteriorates, they can be returned to prison.
Victim Services Units ensure that the concerns of victims of crime are considered in planning for the release of serious offenders. When supervising dangerous offenders, Probation staff work in close partnership with the Police, Social Services, the Health Authority and accommodation providers.
The main aim of resettlement work is to make sure that the public is protected and prisoners have the best chance possible of leading a law abiding life.