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HOME OFFICE BAIL HOSTEL BUILDING PROGRAMME TO BE AXED

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The government is to scrap plans to open 40 bail hostels over the next three years and is considering closing up to...
The government is to scrap plans to open 40 bail hostels over the next three years and is considering closing up to a third of the 113 bail hostels in use, as part of the Treasury's public spending squeeze, reports the Guardian (p7).

The Home Office could save £23m in building costs and £30m in running costs by axing the programme, which began in the late 1980s as a form of punishment in the community as an alternative to prison.

The programme to increase the number of places in bail hostels by 1,100 to 3,500 by 1996 was announced by Kenneth Baker, the then Home Secretary, in February last year.

Bail hostels were originally intended as places to which courts could send young petty offenders who could still go out to work but are now used as an alternative to prison for those remanded in custody but not considered a danger to the public.

Harry Fletcher of the National Association of Probation Officers said that any policy of closure would result in a large rise in the prison population and increase offending, the Guardian reports.
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