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Bail hostel private contract given to housing group

Electronic tag
Bail hostels often house prisoners released with electronic tags

The government has decided not to renew a £5.8m contract with a private company which provides bail hostel accommodation in England and Wales.

In 2009, failings were identified at a hostel run by ClearSprings where a man was murdered by another resident.

The government said it was now happy the firm, which runs about 200 centres, was operating satisfactorily.

But it said the contract had not been renewed and a three-year deal had been signed with housing group Stonham.

ClearSprings was served with a "rectification notice" - which has now been lifted - by the Ministry of Justice in November.

At the time, critics condemned the practice of using a private firm to provide accommodation for prisoners released early and suspects awaiting trial.

Stonham offered the best overall bid in terms of quality of service and cost relative to the other bids received and will take over the service from ClearSprings on 18 June for an initial three years
Prisons Minister Maria Eagle

Ministers ordered a review of standards after a judge criticised controls at a hostel in Stockton, Teesside following the death of 24-year-old Mark Bradshaw, who was on bail accused of assault when he was stabbed to death by two other inmates.

One of his attackers was Kelvin Benson, who had a history of violence and had been bailed to the same hostel accused of assault.

Benson admitted murder and was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 13 years.

Residents groups also objected after it was revealed the company did not have to tell local councillors or the public when it was planning a new hostel.

New laws mean planning permission is now needed for every new development.

Announcing the new contract, Prisons Minister Maria Eagle said: "Stonham offered the best overall bid in terms of quality of service and cost relative to the other bids received and will take over the service from ClearSprings on June 18 for an initial three years.

"The scheme allows defendants without an appropriate address who would otherwise have been granted bail by the courts, to be bailed."

Stonham specialises in providing housing for vulnerable people.



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