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Prisoners released into homelessness during pandemic

MORE than one in 10 prisoners released during the coronavirus lockdown were let out without accommodation to go to, according to government figures. 

A total of 6,961 inmates were freed between May 1 and June 8. 

However Ministry of Justice (MoJ) figures show that 947 — 14 per cent — of them were identified as homeless on their first night, with 209 sleeping rough. 

Campaigners warn that many prisoners given early release during the Covid-19 crisis have also been left without the support they need to get their lives back on track. 

Howard League for Penal Reform chief executive Frances Crook said that there had been cases where young adults were recalled to prison because their probation officer could not find anywhere for them to live. 

Prison Reform Trust director Peter Dawson said: “No amount of good work in prison will achieve rehabilitation if the basics of support after release are ignored. Not having a safe, stable place to live not only creates more victims but can put life at risk.”

The MoJ allocated funding of £8.5 million to provide temporary accommodation for prison leavers, which was initially available from May 18 to June 26 and then extended to the end of July.

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