Thousands of high-risk convicted criminals, including those classed as violent and sexual offenders, were being released from prison in England into homelessness, increasing the likelihood of their reoffending, inspectors warned. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) said in a report that it was “particularly disturbed” to find that at least 3,713 people supervised by the National Probation Service, which is responsible for high-risk offenders, had left prison and become homeless from 2018 to 2019. Ministry of Justice figures show 11,435 people were released from prison into homelessness in 2018-19, and 4,742 homeless people started community sentences in the same period. The inspectors said this widespread homelessness was jeopardising the rehabilitation of offenders.
The chief inspector of probation, Justin Russell, said the case of the serial rapist Joseph McCann highlighted the importance of appropriate housing for high-risk offenders. The probation services had been unable to find McCann a bed in approved premises on two occasions and he had ended up in unsuitable housing that did not facilitate close monitoring and management. Russell said: “Many individuals are homeless when they enter prison and even more are when they leave. Individuals need a safe place to call home, it gives them a solid foundation on which to build crime-free lives. ‘It is difficult for probation services to protect the public and support rehabilitation if individuals are not in stable accommodation. A stable address helps individuals to resettle back into the community, to find work, open a bank account, claim benefits and access local services.”
Read more: Jamie Grierson, Guardian, https://is.gd/mn5DSD