I fear for the safety of domestic abuse victims with the early release scheme, says Commissioner

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A report published today by HM Inspectorate of Prisons into HMP Lewes found that the implementation of the government’s early release scheme was “undermining good, safe release planning and risk management”, including:

  • One case in which a high-risk prisoner who was a risk to children had his release date brought forward despite having a history of stalking, domestic abuse and being subject to a restraining order.
  • Another high-risk prisoner with significant class A drug misuse issues and a recent history of suicidal thoughts and self-harm was released from the segregation unit to homelessness despite appeals for the decision to be reversed and staff having serious concerns for his and the public’s safety. 

Responding to the report, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, says: “When measures for potentially dangerous offenders are rushed out without proper planning, it should come as no surprise that these serious problems emerge.

“By failing to exempt domestic abuse perpetrators, victims are being left to pay the price for prison overcrowding.

“I fear for the safety of children and domestic abuse victims with the early release of this perpetrator and surely multiple others across the country.

“If the government wants to live up to its commitment to treat domestic abuse as seriously as terrorism, then it must exempt domestic abuse perpetrators from the early release scheme and ensure the probation service is equipped to properly manage them.”