Prisoners' Release: Females

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 7th March 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Stern Baroness Stern Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include unsafe, temporary and insecure accommodation within definitions of homelessness when collecting data on women leaving prison.

Photo of Baroness Stern Baroness Stern Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women have left prison without safe accommodation to return to in each of the last five years.

Photo of Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Lord Wolfson of Tredegar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Data on settled accommodation for supervised women prison leavers from 2017/18 to 2019/20 is currently recorded and published in the Community Performance Statistics on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/prison-and-probation-trusts-performance-statistics#community-performance-statistics). Data for 2020/21 will be published in July.

To ensure consistent and accurate data recording, HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), in collaboration with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) and the Welsh Government, has recently updated the Accommodation Recording Guidance to ensure probation regions have a clear and consistent understanding of the accommodation status definitions, and how to record accurately. The Guidance defines homelessness as where an individual is rough sleeping, squatting, residing in night shelters, emergency hostels or campsites. Individuals with other forms of temporary, short-term or otherwise unstable accommodation are encompassed within the ‘unsettled accommodation’ category in published statistics.

Our Prisons Strategy White Paper sets out our vision that no-one subject to probation supervision is released from prison homeless.

To achieve this, HMPPS launched a new transitional accommodation service providing up to 12 weeks’ accommodation and support for those leaving prison at risk of homelessness. The service was launched last July in five probation areas in England. From 2024-5, we will spend £200m per year to reduce reoffending, including expanding the provision to support the thousands of people across England and Wales who leave prison each year without accommodation. The service takes account of the needs of women with accommodation provision dedicated to single gender usage as required.

DLUHC launched their Accommodation for Ex-Offenders (AFEO) scheme on 28 July 2021 to support offenders at risk of homelessness into private rental tenancies. Overall, this financial year, £13 million has been allocated to 87 schemes across 145 local authorities. Combined with our temporary accommodation service, this builds a pathway from prison to settled accommodation.

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