A piece by Richard Ford, Home Correspondent, in today’s Times. Emphases ours:
Homeless ex-prisoners are deliberately committing crimes to get sent back to jail, according to prison watchdog reports.
Men released from jails in the southwest and Wales have admitted that they would reoffend to get a roof over their head and regular meals.
The Catch 22 charity said that prisoners being released without accommodation was a significant problem, with their data showing that 35 per cent of inmates leave with no fixed address.
Of 23 men interviewed on the day of their release from Cardiff prison on one day only 13 had a definite place to sleep that night, a report by the prison’s independent monitoring board said yesterday. One man was released from the prison with a travel warrant to Coventry, 44p in his pocket and nowhere to sleep that evening.
Prisoners who said that they had a place to stay admitted that they were relying on a friend or relative’s sofa or temporary hostel accommodation.
Other prisons, including Bristol and Thameside in London, have said that inmates released without accommodation were deliberately committing crimes to get back behind bars.
A member of Bristol’s independent monitoring board said that inmates had told her that they came back to prison because they had nowhere to live.
Lisa Smitherman, director of justice at Catch 22, said that housing associations classed former prisoners as having made themselves intentionally homeless and so put them at the bottom of their lists. [J4MB: We can be confident she is referring to MALE former prisoners. The same callous indifference is shown towards male victims of domestic violence, who are denied temporary accommodation by councils, and join the street homeless. 90% of the street homeless are men. Street homelessness reduced life expectancy by around 30 years.]
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said that it was working to ensure that everyone leaving prison had access to secure and stable accommodation. He said: “We are investing £22 million in through-the-gate services to strengthen ties with key partners including the third sector, local authorities and the police.”
Among the online comments, one from Barrie Duke:
Been the case for the last 50 years.
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