WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
February 01 2023
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO

Model for reintegrating prisoners into the community ‘must be overhauled at the earliest opportunity’

Model for reintegrating prisoners into the community ‘must be overhauled at the earliest opportunity’

A joint report by HM Inspectorate of Probation and HM Inspectorate of Prisons has found the system for reintegrating prisoners into the community needs ‘to be overhauled’.

The Offender Management in Custody model (OMiC), introduced in 2018, was designed to help reintegrate the prisoners back to the community once released, aiming to reduce the risks of reoffending.

The joint inspection report has found the model is ‘falling well short of expected standards’ and has ‘root to branch issues’.

The inspector highlighted key issues, including severe staff shortages and lack of effective communication. It found the current process is lengthy and complex to the point that neither staff nor prisoners fully understood how to implement it.  

In particular the report highlights cases of prisoners leaving custody with no accommodation secured, no identification documents, and no access to financial support. It found this leaves people leaving prison at greater risk of returning to crime. The current model reduces re-offending in only a third of cases.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: The OMiC model was an ambitious idea to better support prisoners back into the community. But however admirable its intentions, it is simply not working. The model must be reviewed, and overhauled, at the earliest opportunity. 

The report criticises a ‘culture of two organisations, one prison and one probation’ which has exacerbated failures.

A staffing crisis has also lead to high workloads, meaning the model can’t be delivered as planned. Across England and Wales the prison estate needs to hire 6,000 more prison officers and 1,500 operational support staff to meet future need. 

Chief Inspector of Prisons, Charlie Taylor, said: ‘This extremely concerning report shows the extent that OMiC is failing to achieve the aims for which it was designed… We have made several recommendations, including a fundamental review of the role of probation Prison Offender Managers, that, if followed, I hope will help both prisons and probation to better achieve this aim.’