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Offenders: Housing

Volume 488: debated on Monday 2 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what period (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public will have to make representations to agents acting for the National Offender Management Serviceprior to any purchase of property for subsequent use as housing under accommodation and support services for bail and home detention curfew provision. (259843)

It is my practice to write to the appropriate hon. Member when this service is made available in his or her constituency. Planning permission is not required and there is no formal period for representations. For the most part the houses used for this service are leased, not purchased, by the contractor. The houses are the private rented homes of those living in them and it is not appropriate to consult local residents or the wider public. People bailed by the courts or released from prison return to live in the community without hon. Members or the public having any input as to where they may reside. It would be inappropriate and inequitable to identify as defendants or offenders those living at an address rented through ClearSprings when others on bail and home detention curfew living at private addresses are not subject to such identification. The contractor does consult the police, local authority and probation about the location of properties and they are provided with the opportunity to provide comments.

Hon. Members may write to the contractor at any time and I am always ready to consider representations from hon. Members before or after houses for this service are established in a constituency. The National Offender Management Service, regional offender managers and directors of offender management determine where the contractor is asked to source property. The requirement is defined in terms of towns and boroughs, not by constituency.

Members of the public are of course free to write at any time to the contractor, to the Ministry of Justice or to myself.