Accommodation on Release
Yesterday (1 June 2023), the Ministry of Justice published statistics on accommodation on release from prison in the year to March. Given the recent investment in housing for prison leavers the headline findings are disappointing, to say the least:
- The proportion of persons released from custody who were housed at the point of release decreased by 2.4 percentage points to 86.3% between April 2022 and March 2023. This is a decrease of 2.7%.
- The proportion of persons released from custody who were housed at 3 months from their release decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 75.5% between April 2022 and March 2023. This is a decrease of 0.3%.
The detailed tables published to accompany this statistical bulletin show a range of different accommodation outcomes described below. These include the following categories:
- settled accommodation;
- other housed (defined as “living in transient/temporary accommodation that does not provide a long term solution to housing need. Previously known as ‘Other unsettled accommodation,”)
- Bail/probation accommodation;
- Homeless – not rough sleeping;
- Rough sleeping; and unknown.
It is worrying to note that the number of people in the three categories which most people would define as homeless (other/non-settled accommodation; homeless – not rough sleeping; and rough sleeping) have been increasing steadily over the last year. Indeed, in the last month for which data are available, March 2023, the number of homeless people in each of these categories was the highest in the last year.
If we compare the first month of the 12 month period under review (April 2022) with the last (March 2023), we can see that:
- The number of prison leavers in settled accommodation increased by 16.5%
- The number living in bail/probation accommodation increased by 46.2%
- There was a 20.8% increase in the number of people in unsettled accommodation
- 19.7% more people were homeless although not rough sleeping
- The total of prison leavers who were rough sleeping surged by 51.3%
You can see all the figures in my graph using the official data below.
Perhaps the most disturbing fact is that the proportion of people known to be housed drops from 86.3% on the day of release to 75.5% three months later. Key to this drop is likely to be the fact that almost one quarter of people (23.2%) are housed in bail/probation accommodation on the day or release while there are less than one in thirteen (7.5%) in this form of housing three months later.
The number of people known to be sleeping rough three months after release has also increased from 161 in April 2022 to 218 in March of this year.
Thanks to Andy Aitchison for kind permission to use the header image in this post. You can see Andy’s work here