Why focus on housing…?
Supporting offenders into settled and suitable housing can be the foundation of every other part of rehabilitation, resettlement, and managing risk. It is important not only because for many offenders it can give roots to a previously unstructured life, but also because it is a springboard for other important steps. The critical step of getting and keeping a job, registering with a doctor, getting into drug treatment - all these things are made much easier if an offender has an address, and one which they will keep.
- As many as a third of prisoners lose their housing on imprisonment
- Around a third (35 per cent) of prisoners have nowhere to stay on release
- Short-term and repeat prisoners are more likely to be homeless when they leave custody
- More than three quarters of prisoners who reported being homeless before entering custody were reconvicted within a year of release (compared with 49% who were not homeless).
Barriers to accessing housing
Offenders find it difficult to access and sustain housing for a variety of reasons including those listed below.
- A shortage of affordable housing for offenders and other low income groups nationally
- A scarcity of supported and temporary housing for people with lower end needs.
- Many offenders have a poor tenancy history and appear to be treated less favourably as a group by many housing providers
This increases social exclusion and increases the likelihood of further criminal behaviour.
Three factors have been identified as being instrumental in determining whether ex-prisoners succeed in keeping their homes:
- The quality of family relationships
- The availability of housing benefit
- Their financial status
Not only can homelessness and offending become a vicious circle, but there is evidence to suggest that homelessness increases the severity with which offenders are dealt with within courts. Lack of housing can make it more unlikely that a defendant will be bailed and more likely that they will receive a custodial sentence.
By enabling offenders to have access to stable accommodation all other areas of rehabilitation are more likely to be effective, in turn, reducing the likelihood of them refraining from future offending as shown in the statistic below.
- 20% reduction in reconviction rates arising from secure accommodation being in place.
If you want to find out where and how to access housing in your local area use the search functions on the side of the page.
Alternatively, if you are a housing provider who is keen to support offenders but doesn’t currently do so, please contact us.
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