Page last updated at 18:02 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Bail hostels partially revealed

Plymouth rooftops
The three hostels are in two areas of the city

Three hostels for prisoners, convicts with electronic tags and people awaiting trial have been set up in Plymouth, the government has revealed.

The government has not disclosed the exact location of the private hostels, but did release to Parliament which postcodes areas the properties were in.

Two are in the PL4 area of the city, and the third in PL2.

The government would not reveal how many people were in the hostels, but said they had no dangerous offenders.

BBC South West Home Affairs correspondent Simon Hall said: "The Ministry of Justice would not say exactly where they are.

"But we do know rough areas because we have postcodes, although they are only incomplete postcodes. We know that two are in St Judes and one is in the Mutley area."

'Low risk'

The Ministry of Justice said the accommodation was for people nearing the end of their sentences and also allowed courts to bail defendants who were currently unable to provide an address.

Justice Minister David Hanson said the security of the public remained paramount and that anyone who posed a risk to the public would continue to be held on remand.

Electronic tag
Some of the hostels' residents have electronic tags

He said: "More than half of those held in this accommodation are on bail and are therefore innocent until proven guilty.

"Those on home detention curfew are assessed as low risk before entry, monitored during their stay, and are liable to recall to prison if they break the terms of their release.

"Anyone accused of sexual offences, arson and those who pose a threat to staff, other residents or the public are not housed in these properties."

The three hostels are run by a company called ClearSprings, which operates properties for 400 ex-prisoners and suspects across England and Wales.

Mr Hanson claimed the scheme had been a success because it had reduced prison numbers.

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