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Stepping stone to help prisoners back into community

Prisoners can prepare for life on the outside Credit: ITV Granada Reports

A women's prison in Cheshire opens a new halfway-house today which will which will act as a stepping stone back into the community for prisoners nearing release.

It's the first of its kind in the country and is just outside the prison gates. It's hoped it will give low risk prisoners the opportunity to find work, re-establish family ties, reintegrate into the community and ensure housing needs are met before their release.

Until today, a female offender nearing release would need to move to one of only two women’s open prisons, often a long distance away from their homes, families and local community.

HMP Styal is the first prison to launch its open accommodation, with a house just beyond the prison gate which will house up to 25 offenders.

Chance for prisoners to prepare for release Credit: ITV Granada Reports

“The launch of the open accommodation at Styal is the first step of a vital reform we are making to the women’s prison estate –helping female offenders prepare for their release by testing them in open conditions, and at the same time keeping them as close to home as possible.

“This will mean that before leaving custody, they can already start to make the local links they need on their release – such as finding job opportunities, housing, or other local services.

“These are essential factors to helping offenders turn away from crime and change their lives for good.”

– Justice Minister Simon Hughes

Lancashire County Council delay fracking decision

Councillors in Lancashire have delayed making a decision on whether the energy firm Cuadrilla can drill for shale gas at two areas in the county.

There was a large protest outside county hall in Preston by campaigners opposed to the drilling process known as fracking.

The council will now make a decision on the sites near Blackpool in two months' time.

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