Up to 12,000 prisoners in England and Wales at risk of being released homeless will be offered temporary housing for up to 12 weeks as part of the Community Accommodation Service scheme.
In 2019/20 (the last pre-COVID performance publication), there were approximately 12,000 prisoners (16%) released either rough sleeping or homeless.
The Community Accommodation Scheme began in July 2021 in 5 of the 12 Probation Service regions: Yorkshire and Humber, Greater Manchester, the North West, the East of England and Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Wales was added in July 2022. The scheme is now being rolled out among the remaining 6 regions: the North East, East Midlands, West Midlands, South Central, South West, and London.
Statistics show that the proportion of offenders who had somewhere to stay on the first night of release from prison was 7.6 percentage points higher in regions with this service compared with those without.
It is proven that offenders in stable accommodation are 50% less likely to commit further crimes – reducing the annual £18 billion cost of reoffending on society. Having an address also allows offenders to find work and access treatment for addictions and mental health problems, while being closely monitored by the Probation Service.
This scheme is complemented by employment assistance helping thousands of prisoners into employment upon release following innovative schemes such as Employment Advisory Boards, which have been rolled out in 92 prisons to improve the education and training on offer.
These measures have helped more offenders into a steady job with the latest statistics showing the proportion of prison leavers finding work within 6 months increasing from 23% to 30% since 2022.
As a firm, we are delighted to see these and other initiatives supporting those who have served their time and wish to start afresh with a clean slate. If you experience any difficulties in accessing these schemes, please get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can offer assistance. Our commitment to helping our clients does not stop when you are sentenced.
How can we help?
We ensure we keep up to date with any changes in legislation and case law so that we are always best placed to advise you properly. If you would like to discuss any aspect of your case, please contact our team of criminal defence specialists on: 01376 511819