ROTL is currently used mainly in the open estate, where prisoners have already been assessed as posing little or no escape risk. Training prisons, and resettlement prisons other than open prisons, do not make significant use of ROTL, and many do not use it at all.
There appear to be two main reasons why ROTL is underused:
the fear of criticism when things go wrong
the risk that ROTL creates an avenue for drugs or other illicit items to be brought into establishments
There are, however, two significant benefits to the wider use of ROTL:
- the benefit to the individual in terms of assisting with their resettlement
- the wider benefit to the prison estate in helping to create a stable prison environment
Benefiting the individual
We believe that resettlement activities need to start at the earliest possible point, but currently this usually only happens in the last 12 weeks of a sentence, leaving little time to stabilise and support the individual. The management of a sentence should be seamless and centred on preparation for a successful release into the community.