Prisoners' Release: Homelessness

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 24th November 2021.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP/YOI Bronzefield, published on 16 November 2021, what steps he is taking to evaluate the impact of the shift in the model for provision of accommodation support services on (a) rough sleeping, (b) homelessness and (c) housing insecurity for prison leavers.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP/YOI Bronzefield, published on 16 November 2021, what proportion of sentenced prison leavers from HMP/YOI Bronzefield were released without safe and secure accommodation in (a) February 2020 and (b) July 2021.

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP/YOI Bronzefield, what budget was allocated to housing support services at HMP/YOI Bronzefield in (a) February 2020 and (b) July 2021.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister for Afghan resettlement

The new Commissioned Rehabilitative Services went live on 26 June. HMPPS Contract Managers are overseeing the effective embedding of these new contracts and will robustly monitor the performance of providers. Although we are still in the early days of the new contracted provision, we are committed to ensuring that those within our care, including those in custody, receive the support they need to address their rehabilitative and resettlement needs, including through support into Accommodation.

The Probation Service has a new target of housing 90% of prison leavers following their release. We will monitor outcomes and support prison and probation staff to work effectively with other providers to achieve this target. To support this, we have placed a specific focus on improving the consistency and accuracy of data recorded so housing needs can be identified. This includes a new requirement for ‘Accommodation Planned on Release’ to be recorded three months prior to release, so Community Probation Practitioners and Homelessness Prevention Teams can take proactive steps before release with prison leavers at risk of homelessness, including Referral to Local Housing Authorities and working with partners and providers.

In terms of the proportion of sentenced prison leavers from HMP & YOI Bronzefield aged 18 years and over released without safe and secure accommodation, the proportion for February 2020 was 58.3%. Accommodation outcomes for July 2021 are due to be published as part of the Community Performance series for 2021/22 and Prison Performance Ratings for 2021/22 both due to be released in July 2022.

A direct financial comparison between accommodation and housing support services at HMP & YOI Bronzefield before and after 26 June 2021 is not possible because of differences in the way that accommodation support is now provided. The new model in place from 26 June onwards is based on a specialist provider of Women’s Services offering a holistic service, which includes addressing a wide range of issues women face including meeting their accommodation needs and supporting their transition from custody to community. The previous model made use of accommodation support delivered in the prison which supported women up to the point of release.

Additional resource has been introduced through the new specialist housing advisor role in up to twenty prisons, including HMP & YOI Bronzefield. The new role will strengthen links between prisons, resettlement staff and local authorities to improve accommodation outcomes for those at risk of homelessness.

In relation to HMP & YOI Bronzefield specifically, an additional accommodation support worker is being recruited to provide further support to the significant proportion of women who are released to the London area.

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