Letter: Preparing prisoners for the real world

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Sir: I was pleased to read your report and leading article (13 October) in support of the initiative at HMP Latchmere House. It was a refreshing antidote to the accompanying article that reported the proposals on 'tough new measures' for community sentences and parole.

Probation officers at Latchmere House work closely with prison staff to meet the rehabilitative objectives of the regime, and play a significant role in the institution. Probation officers who supervise ex-prisoners on licence know the importance of a settled home and work prospects for such men. The work that Latchmere House does in facilitating this and preparing prisoners for release is of considerable value. The more a prisoner can effect a successful transition from custody to independent living, and the more he can have a stake in society, the more likely he will not return to crime.

Yours faithfully, MAUREEN BARRY Chief Probation Officer, South West London Probation Service Kingston upon Thames, Surrey