A “woefully small” number of inmates released from Europe’s largest prison for sex offenders have access to rehabilitation programmes, a report has said.
According to the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) report at HMP Littlehey in Perry, Cambridgeshire, inmates were also found to be released from the category C prison without being challenged about their crimes or the risk they pose to others.
The facility, which housed celebrity publicist Max Clifford, currently holds more than 1,000 prisoners, 98% of whom have been convicted of a sexual offence.
Clifford was jailed in 2014 for a string of sexual assault offences, and was in the middle of serving an eight-year sentence before he collapsed and died in December 2017. He denied his crimes.
The prison population is also noted to have an “unusual high” number of older inmates, with 48% of inmates aged 50 and over.
Of the 48%, 140 inmates are aged over 70, and 34 are over the age of 80.
IMB, which is made up of volunteers appointed by justice ministers, said in the report it was “frustrated” and “dissatisfied” with the help the inmates receive upon their release into society.
It said: “[The board is] frustrated to report the woefully small amount of men who are able to access an intervention programme to help them reduce their risk.
“The majority of the population will be released without being challenged, or increasing their own understanding, about their sexual offence, the factors leading up to it or what they need to do to reduce their risk of serious harm.”
It called on the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to set national standards for sex offenders and older inmates to “end the postcode lottery of rehabilitation and resettlement initiatives”.
A warning against overcrowding at the facility, and ongoing maintenance problems with plumbing and laundry services were also mentioned in the report.
In response, a Prison Service spokesman said inmates at HMP Littlehey were “carefully assessed before being provided with the most suitable treatment to reduce the risk of committing further sexual offences”.
He added: “The majority of prisoners released from HMP Littlehey go into supervised accommodation and are subject to strict license conditions.”
According to the Ministry of Justice, some prisoners were enrolled onto nationally accredited sex offender treatment programmes in 2018.
However, some of the lower-risk offenders have been found to be more likely to re-offend after participating in some programmes, the department has suggested.