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THE number of women released after short-term prison sentences into homelessness has more than doubled over the past year, according to new figures published yesterday.
Information obtained by Labour shows that 227 female offenders were recorded as being homeless by private-sector community rehabilitation companies (CRC) in April, May and June this year. The figure in the same quarter last year was 103.
Almost a third of offenders released under CRC supervision had “unknown or unsettled accommodation outcomes,” according to a written parliamentary answer.
Shadow justice minister Imran Hussain, who submitted the written parliamentary question, said: “It is shocking that so many ex-offenders are being released without a roof over their head, despite homelessness being a major factor in reoffending.
“How can these people hope to turn their lives around when they don’t even have anywhere to live?
“This is yet another damning indictment of the failure of the CRCs to meet even the most basic of needs of offenders.
“The Tories need to take urgent action to ensure that these probation companies that they privatised are fit for purpose.”
There are 21 CRCs in England and Wales led by charities as well as privateers such as Sodexo, Seetec and outsourcing firm Interserve.
Since 2015 they have supervised and rehabilitated offenders who pose a low or medium risk of serious harm on payment-by-results contracts. This work was previously done by 35 probation trusts.
The national probation service, as part of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), oversees the rehabilitation of serious offenders.
An MoJ spokesman said the department is working with the Department for Communities and Local Government to develop a pilot scheme to help released prisoners find homes to rent.
He said: “We will also shortly be bringing forward a strategy for female offenders aimed at improving outcomes for women in the community and custody, to add to the support already in place.”
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