To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if his Department will hold discussions with the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government on tackling reoffending rates amongst recently-released prisoners who are made homeless immediately on release.
Nobody should be released from prison without a roof over their head. We know that individuals are less likely to reoffend if they have a stable home to go to upon release. The Ministry of Justice is already working very closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to improve the accommodation opportunities for those with a history of offending.
The two departments are also working together through their membership of the cross-government Reducing Reoffending Board and the cross-government Rough Sleeping and Homelessness Taskforce.
This includes supporting the delivery of the Rough Sleeping Strategy, which was published in August 2018. As part of this Strategy, the Government is investing £6.4M in a joint pilot to support individuals who have served 12 months or less in custody, and who are at risk of being released as homeless, to secure and maintain accommodation.
Since 1 October, Prisons and Probation providers have been subject to a legal ‘Duty to Refer’ anyone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to the Local Authority. This change means that offenders will receive meaningful housing assistance at an earlier stage, irrespective of their priority need.