Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson has welcomed the news that £70 million will be made available to keep prison leavers off the streets and cut crime.
The new funding announced by the Ministry of Justice at the end of last month (January 2021) aims to offer better support and reduce reoffending by investing in accommodation and wider support for those leaving prison, including basic accommodation for up to 12 weeks and help to find permanent accommodation, both of which then open the door to further help and support for addiction and mental health illness.
Angus said: “Those leaving prison, having served the punishment set by our Criminal Justice System, deserve the chance to rebuild their lives and get back on their feet.
“The second priority in my Police and Crime Plan is to Protect the Most Vulnerable People in Society, those who are most at risk of becoming victims of crime, or repeat victims.
“We need to take swift and effective action that punishes those who offend, but we also need to offer the best support available to turn offenders away from criminality.
“For some, offending is a cycle. We have previously seen that if we don’t have the right structures and support in place that create a circuit break, those individuals - without somewhere to live, or without the support in place to keep accommodation and readjust to life in the community - can easily fall back into the pattern of offending and return to mixing with criminal networks.
“Recognising the need for a proactive join-up between the housing and criminal justice systems, last year, together with the Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), I commission an Offender Housing Support Worker who sits in the Wiltshire Council Housing Team. The Ministry of Justice funding will be a welcome addition to complement and build on this work, so we can have an even greater impact on reducing reoffending, further reducing the number of victims of crime and the harm caused by crime.”
Cllr Richard Clewer, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Housing, said "We know that working with prisons and offenders on their housing options in a timely way before they are released substantially increases their chances of securing stable accommodation when they are in the community, and drives down homelessness and crime. We welcome this new funding from the Ministry of Justice as recognising the importance of housing in rehabilitation."