4: Post-release contact and services

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In this chapter, the focus is upon post-release aspects of the resettlement process. The discussion is based on four main data sources: the interviews – already referred to in the previous chapter – with 71 ex-prisoners who had previously completed the FOR programme; interviews with 13 FOR ‘community links’ or ‘post-release tutors’; a postal questionnaire completed by 24 community-based service providers with links to the programme; and analysis of the post-release sections of the case management records (CMRs) kept on all FOR participants.

First, a brief summary is given of the extent of contact between offenders and FOR staff or community links: this issue is further discussed in Chapter 5, where post-release contact is examined as an interim indicator of resettlement outcomes. Second, an account is given of referrals made to local agencies and of subsequent levels of service uptake. Finally, views of the community link staff and ex-prisoners are presented.

It is important to reiterate that the evaluation of the Phase 1 Resettlement Pathfinders included only Automatic Unconditional Release (AUR) prisoners (for whom all post-release contact was voluntary), but that the eligibility criteria were expanded in Phase 2 to include Automatic Conditional Release (ACR) prisoners and young offenders (YOs), two groups that are subject to statutory post-release supervision. This complicated the post-release stages of the resettlement strategy, which were managed differently in each site.

As outlined in Chapter 1, the aim in Parc was to allocate all ACR participants to specially designated (and trained) FOR probation officers in a number of locations around South Wales: while this occurred in most cases, a substantial minority were in fact supervised by other members of throughcare teams.

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