Prisoners Release: Homelessness

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 16th January 2019.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Shadow Minister (Wales)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of prisoners serving sentences of less than six months who are homeless upon release in each of the last 10 years.

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

It is vital that everyone leaving prison has somewhere stable and secure to live. Having somewhere stable to live acts as a platform for ex-offenders to be able to access the services and support needed to turn their back on crime for good. Published statistics for 2017/18 showing the accommodation status for all offenders released from custody and offenders on community sentences can be viewed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/729062/accommodation-cirumstances-tables-2018.xlsx

As part of the Government initiative to reduce and ultimately eliminate rough sleeping across England, we will invest £6.4 million over two years in a pilot scheme to help ex-offenders into accommodation from three prisons, namely Bristol, Pentonville and Leeds. The pilots will focus on male prisoners who have served shorter sentences, who have been identified as having a risk of homelessness.

Furthermore, as of the 1 October 2018, Prisons and Probation providers have a “Duty to Refer” anyone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to the Local Authority. Following a referral, Local Authorities are then required to make an assessment, meaning offenders can receive meaningful housing assistance at an earlier stage irrespective of their priority need.

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