In Brief

Freed sex offenders being housed in hotels, warns watchdog

Probation inspectors say lack of monitoring is putting public at risk

A shortage of monitored bail houses has resulted in convicted sex offenders being housed in budget hotels following their release from prison, a watchdog has warned.

In a newly published report, HM Inspectorate of Probation and Prisons said that widespread failures to put “safeguards in place in the community to protect the public” were “indefensible”.

The risk posed by released sex offenders is being increased further by a lack of rehabilitation work to change their behaviour, according to the independent body.

In one case, a probation officer put a man posing “a high risk of harm” in an unnamed budget hotel because his booked room at a probation hostel was unsuitable for his disability.

The offender, who had served four years in prison, was moved to another hotel after two weeks and was still there at the time of the inspection, says The Independent.

A total of 120 probation cases were scrutinised in five areas. Of these cases, only 17 offenders had started a programme to reduce their risk of re-offending within eight months of their release.

The watchdog’s report warns that more monitored bail houses are needed urgently, as the number of people on the sex offenders’ register has soared by 60% since 2010 to 58,637. 

A total of 13,580 prisoners are currently serving jail terms for sexual offences - almost a fifth of the jail population, The Daily Telegraph.

The chief inspector of probation, Dame Glenys Stacey, said the system was not working “anywhere near well enough from start to finish”.

“With many probation staff unsure what to do for the best with sexual offenders under probation supervision, the public are not sufficiently protected. This makes no sense,” she added.

The Ministry of Justice said that cases such as those involving hotels amounted to “exceptional circumstances”, and were only given the green light after a risk assessment by the National Probation Service and the police.

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