Paedophiles to be housed in community

Paedophiles are to be housed in specialist hostels in the community under plans unveiled by ministers.

The Home Office set out a programme to accommodate 100 paedophiles and high-risk sex offenders in up to five hostels around England and Wales.

The proposals are certain to run into opposition from local residents, but ministers said they were trying to identify suitable sites and pledged there would be full public consultation.

The hostels were unlikely to be within prison grounds but could be located in hospitals, a Home Office spokeswoman said.

Each will house 20 to 25 offenders for up to a year, offering them treatment and specialist supervision. There will be no powers to detain the offenders although their freedom may be partly restricted.

New research showed reconviction rates were halved for high-risk offenders who underwent treatment at a prototype hostel, the Wolvercote Clinic in Epsom, which closed in 2002.

Paul Goggins, the minister for correctional services, said: "We can never completely eliminate risks posed by dangerous offenders, but we can minimise them and protect communities."

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