Prisoners' Release: Housing

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 18th April 2019.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to ensure that prisoners are not released without providing them with suitable accommodation.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

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. Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and the National Probation Service (NPS) are required to facilitate access to housing for the offenders that they are managing. This includes working together with local partners to help offenders find and maintain accommodation as part of a package of support tailored to meet their individual needs.

We are investing an additional £22m per annum over the remaining life of the CRC contracts to ensure that CRCs deliver an enhanced Through The Gate service to offenders leaving prison. Alongside this investment we have introduced a new Through the Gate specification which will ensure that CRCs complete specific tasks, including to help every prisoner to secure and maintain settled accommodation.

As part of the Government initiative to reduce and ultimately eliminate rough sleeping across England, we are investing up to £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 and have been identified as having a risk of homelessness. We have launched our Invitation to Tender, to secure suppliers in the three pilot areas, and aim to award contracts in late April 2019. This is a concrete step in our commitment to tackling rough sleeping.


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