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'Bail hostel is strict, but it should still move'
SEX offenders and other dangerous crooks are living in “strict, prison-like” conditions at the controversial Felmores Bail Hostel, according to a councillor. Some of the inmates, who have been released from prison on licence, are forced to check in with supervisors every 45 minutes as part of their strict release conditions.
The manager of the hostel, in Felmores, Basildon , has also banned all sex offenders living at the site from having cameras or mobile phones which can take pictures.
Convicted paedophiles are also not allowed to stay in hostel rooms which overlook nearby Northlands Park, where children play.
The details have been revealed by Gavin Callaghan, Labour councillor for Pitsea North West, – who has campaigned with residents for the hostel to be removed.
He told the Echo about what life was like inside the hostel, after being invited on a tour by Essex Probation Service, which manages the site.
Mr Callaghan – who invited fellow councillors Aidan McGurran, Keith Bobbin and Ron Livesey to join him – said the hostel had a “strange atmosphere” and offered no luxuries to those staying there.
He said: “Some of the residents have to check in every 45 minutes, which would, for example, prevent them from getting to Southend and back if they had a victim who was from Southend.
“They are doing everything they can at the hostel to make sure the people in that facility are unlikely to reoffend.”
Mr Callaghan said the hostel – officially called an approved premises – has 25 bedrooms for those who have been released early from prison on licence.
Most of those staying there live at the hostel for 12 weeks while they are prepared for life back in the community.
Mr Callaghan said during that time inmates were constantly monitored by hostel staff, had to abide by curfews, had to eat meals together at 6.30pm, were helped to gain employment and must pay £25 a week towards their keep.
Despite the restrictions, Mr Callaghan said he still wanted to see the hostel moved, as the majority of criminals at the hostel were convicted sex offenders.
Residents of the nearby Felmores estate started a campaign for the hostel to be moved in April last year.