Report highlights need for investment in housing support for prison-leavers

ex-offender-programsA new report on the link between homelessness and re-offending has called for housing to be made a priority in the forthcoming National Strategy for Community Justice in Scotland.

Shelter Scotland’s ‘Preventing Homelessness and Reducing Re-Offending’ report was the centrepiece of an event at the Scottish Parliament last night.

It makes 14 recommendations, including a call for a proportion of the funding received by community justice partners to be earmarked for improving the housing advice and support available to prisoners.

Previous research by the charity showed that providing a safe and secure home to ex-offenders upon release is crucial in preventing re-offending. Each case of re-offending costs around £34,000 per prisoner per year while 2,108 of the statutory homeless applications made last year in Scotland came from people leaving prison. The cost of each case of homelessness in Scotland can be anything from £5,000 to £25,000.

The new report highlights that last year 6 per cent (2,108) of statutory homeless applications in Scotland came from people leaving prison, a significant over-representation when compared to other groups. The charity says this official figure is unlikely to represent the full scale of the problem and homelessness could be much higher among the nearly 20,000 people who leave prison each year.

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