August 29, 2008
Home for Low-Risk Offenders
By SAM BEATTIE
THE GAZETTE can today reveal what type of offenders will be housed in a controversial bail house proposed for a Middlesbrough street.
Anxious residents have already vowed to fight "secret plans" for the mid-terrace in Ayresome Park Road to the bitter end.
But today, the Ministry of Justice tried to allay fears by stressing that only very low-risk criminals will be moved into the Linthorpe address.
A spokesman for the ministry said shoplifters and offenders who have committed similar "petty" chosen letting company, Clear Springs, Middlesbrough residents did not have to be told about the plans. But at a public meeting about the issue on Tuesday evening, which Clear Springs did not attend, residents spoke of their fury at the plans.
Councillor Joe Michna, whose patch covers Ayresome Park Road, said residents are angry that opponents are unable to challenge the plans and Middlesbrough Council has not been formally involved.
He also said that security worries remain, despite the announcement that only low-risk offenders will be housed at the address. "I don't think many residents will be comforted by that," he said. crimes will live in the house.
"There's no way we'd put violent criminals or sex offenders in these places. It's purely for the lowest level low-risk," he said.
The planned home differs from a bail hostel - its rules and monitoring of residents will be less strict, he said. Homeless offenders who would otherwise be granted bail to a home address will be housed there.
"Judges and magistrates have asked that we provide more bail accommodation because there are numbers of defendants without anywhere to live whom the courts consider can be bailed if such accommodation, with necessary support, is made available," he added.
He stressed that the house helps save prison places and the cost of escorting offenders, and is technically not a hostel.
As it will be managed by the Ministry of Justice's
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