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Shipley MP furious over criminal 'imports'
A property allowing people with no address to be bailed or released early from prison under curfew is to open somewhere in Shipley, much to the anger of the town’s MP.
Philip Davies, an advocate for people to serve their prison sentences in full, last night vowed to fight the move after being told by Justice Minister Jeremy Wright of the “service” now available in his constituency.
In a letter from the Ministry of Justice to Mr Davies the controversial posting – which is not a bail hostel – is described as “offering a two-bedroom property, together with a visiting support package.”
Mr Davies said: “I am wholly opposed to unnecessarily importing criminals into my constituency, it is all about keeping people out of prison.
“I want more criminals in prison. Let these homes be put in the constituencies of MPs that are soft on crime and want criminals out of prison.”
The address of the property will be kept secret and only immediate neighbours are told and provided with emergency contact numbers in case of a problem, the MoJ said. But it stressed no sex offenders or anyone deemed dangerous would be living in the property.
The service run by Stonham allows people who are unable to provide a bail address or who are eligible to be released from prison on Home Detention Curfew but lack suitable accommodation or support to live in the community.
Mr Wright said it was “unjust and uneconomic” to put people who had no bail address into prison unnecessarily or keep them there and the service had shown to reduce reoffending.
A support officer will attend the property at least once a week helping the offenders to find suitable accommodation, work or education to deter them from re-offending.
Individuals are assessed before being moved to the accommodation and the people who live at the property pay rent and contribute towards bills. If rules are breached the person can be sent back to prison, Mr Davies was told.
“The National Offender Management Service is very conscious of the need to protect the public and the arrangement for the scheme reflects that. The fact that a place is available does not mean that a person is automatically released by the courts or from prison,” the letter adds.
The letter continues: “Whilst I recognise that there may be public concern, it is necessary that offenders needing housing to support their path to rehabilitation can access this service.”
Mr Davies dismissed claims the location could not be released saying details of court appearances were published in papers and that did not cause vigilante attacks.
However, Shipley Council-lor Martin Love said such services need to be put in place to help people re-integrate into society.
He said: “We shouldn't be surprised any more regarding Mr Davies being at odds with his own party’s Government on this or any other matter.”
Beverley Williams, Home Group’s director of criminal justice, of which Stonham is a subsidiary, said: “Far from importing criminals into Mr Davies’ constituency we have established this service in Shipley to meet local need.