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Prisoners' Release: Females

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL5131, tabled on 5 January 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of hidden homelessness among women leaving prison; and how, if at all, this is recorded in accommodation outcomes.

Answered on

19 January 2022

We recognise how important it is that everyone leaving prison should have somewhere to live, as accommodation enables offenders to hold down a job and reduces the likelihood of them re-offending.

Community Probation Practitioners and Homelessness Prevention Teams take proactive steps before release with prison leavers at risk of homelessness, including referral to Local Housing Authorities and working with partners and providers.

Evidence shows that there is a link between homelessness and reoffending; Prison leavers without settled accommodation are 50 per cent more likely to reoffend. The Government has, therefore, made addressing rough sleeping a priority and the Ministry of Justice is committed to working across government to end rough sleeping.

The Target Operating Model for probation services in England and Wales, published in February 2021, included performance measures for prison leavers housed on release from custody (90%), and settled accommodation for all supervised individuals (those released from prison and those on community sentences) three months after commencement of their supervision (80%). Accommodation circumstances for offenders are reported annually as official statistics. Data for the period 01 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 will be published in July 2022 in the Community Performance Annual report.

The Prisons Strategy White Paper, published in December, sets out our vision for reducing reoffending. This includes our aim that no-one subject to probation supervision is released from prison homeless. We are therefore expanding our new Community Accommodation Service to support the thousands of people in England and Wales who leave prison each year without accommodation. The service takes account of the needs of women, including those with complex needs, with accommodation provision dedicated to single gender usage as required. Community Probation Practitioners, working together with local partners, are responsible for ensuring that vulnerable female prison leavers receive appropriate support and are provided with housing beyond the 12 weeks emergency accommodation.