Prisoners' Release: Wales

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Everyone leaving prison should have somewhere safe and secure to live. Accommodation enables ex-offenders to hold down a job and reduces the likelihood of them reoffending. Prison leavers face significant barriers to securing suitable accommodation often linked to their lack of access to necessary funds, availability of local authority housing supply and affordability or access to the private rented sector. However, overcoming these barriers is something that Ministry of Justice cannot do in isolation and we are working across governments to ensure leavers have secure accommodation to go to.

In 2019, the accommodation status of prison leavers with an origin address in Wales was as follows:

Total Releases

Bail/probation accommodation


Other homeless


Other unsettled accommodation


Rough sleeping


Settled accommodation




Notes on data:

Please note that the figures in the attached tables have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

The results are sorted by origin address (home address on reception into custody) and not nationality.

Around 97% of prisoners have an origin location - i.e. addresses that are recorded in our central IT system. If no address is given, an offender’s committal court address is used as a proxy for the area in which they are resident. Around 3% of prisoners do not have either an address or court information recorded. Where an individual offender was released more than once in 2019 their origin address is based on data from their most recent custodial record.

It is important to stress that it is not possible to infer from an address in Wales that an individual considers themselves Welsh/English. Therefore, the data shown are not necessarily representative of those who identify as English or Welsh.

“Settled accommodation” means:

(i) any accommodation that provides a permanent independent housing solution including as owner occupier; tenant in a tenancy available for a minimum 3 month period; living as part of a family where the Applicable Person is able to reside in that home permanently and is able to return to that home; living with a friend with a bedroom available for the Applicable Person’s use and access to domestic facilities; a caravan or boat that is viewed by the Applicable Person as his permanent home;

(ii) supported housing provided by an accredited housing agency that is provided for a minimum 3 month period and includes support for the Applicable Person in relation to moving to a permanent independent housing solution

“Bail/probation accommodation” includes probation Approved Premises, Bail Accommodation Support Services (BASS) accommodation and accommodation provided by the Home Office Immigration Enforcement Service.

“Other homeless” refers to individuals who identify as homeless but have not been identified as sleeping rough. In some cases, it is not recorded whether an individual that is identified as homeless is rough sleeping. These cases have been included in the “Other homeless” category.

“Other unsettled accommodation” refers to individuals living in transient/short term accommodation that does not provide a long-term solution to housing need.

"Unknown Circumstance" refers to individuals where accommodation status on release is not held on the internal probation case management system, or where a match was not found when linking prison records to the internal probation case management system.

All Accommodation Circumstances are recorded on a ‘first night’ basis, i.e. the status that is current to the first night following release from custody (including release from court).

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