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Sir David Ramsbotham
"There should be national risk assessment"
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Tuesday, 15 August, 2000, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK
Call for national sex offender unit
Prison cell
Most sex offender treatment is 'effective', says Sir David
The Chief Inspector of Prisons has called for a national unit to be established to deal with all sex offenders.

Sir David Ramsbotham also called for the establishment of a panel to oversee the rehabilitation and treatment of such offenders, including those who refuse to acknowledge their crimes.

I do not want offenders who have accepted their have their acceptance corrupted

Sir David Ramsbotham

His comments follow a visit to Usk Prison in South Wales, where the majority of inmates are serving sentences for sex offences.

In a report on the prison, Sir David praised the regime at Usk but warned that the progress of some prisoners could be put at risk if they were forced to share a cell with sex offenders who refused to acknowledge their crimes.

He said offenders had access to treatment only if they accepted their offence.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I do not want offenders who have accepted their offence and going through treatment to have their acceptance corrupted by people who are in denial."

Sir David Ramsbotham
Sir David: Plan for those who refuse treatment
His report comes in the wake of the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne, the controversial "naming and shaming" campaign in the News of the World and protests against paedophiles on the Paulsgrove estate in Portsmouth.

He recommended that a plan, on how to deal with sex offenders who refuse treatment, be drawn up to create a "truly national programme".

It would be coordinated in a similar way to the Prison Service's Lifer Management Unit.

'Risk assessment'

It looks after "the sentence planning and management of all life sentence prisoners".

Sir David said: "I believe they [the Prison Service] ought to have exactly the same for all sex offenders."

He said the unit could give a "risk assessment" essential "before the offender is released back into the public".

But the Prison Service said it had no plans to look into Sir David's proposals.

Paul Cavadino, director of policy at the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, said: "The long term solution must be to have a good spread of sex offender treatment programmes across the prison system."

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