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Hostels for prisoners will add to Thanet's social problems, warns Roger Gale MP

New homes for offenders wearing electronic tags could be set up in Margate, although their exact location will be kept a closely-guarded secret.

Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet, says the government wants to set up one or more “hostels” in the town.

He claims that local landlords have already been contacted about accomodation that could house prisoners released on Home Detention Curfew (HDC).

Under the scheme, criminals serving sentences of between three months and four years are allowed to live outside of jail, although they must remain at a designated address between 7pm and 7am.

However, Mr Gale fears that establishing such properties in Margate would add to social problems in the town, which he says is used as a “dumping ground” for cared-for children and immigrants.

He said: “We’ve already taken in more than our fair share of external problems.

“I’m certain that Thanet will honourably and proudly take care of its own as best it can but I don’t believe we can continue taking care of other people’s problems as well.

“I think we have a right to know what these offenders have been convicted of before we begin to make provision locally.

“I fully understand the dangers of vigilante activity but if the government aren’t going to consult with the public, surely they can be open and honest with the local MP?”

Sexual offenders, arsonists and other criminals who pose a threat to other residents are not housed in HDC accommodation and continue to be held on remand.

Local people are not told when prisoners are rehoused although ClearSprings, the company which provides the accommodation, does provide neighbours with an emergency telephone number.

Justice Minister David Hanson said: “The security of the public remains paramount.

“Offenders released on HDC 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.”

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