Presentation on theme: "New keys for old doors Breaking the vicious circle connecting homelessness and reoffending Graham Bowpitt, Nottingham Trent University,"— Presentation transcript:
New keys for old doors Breaking the vicious circle connecting homelessness and reoffending Graham Bowpitt, Nottingham Trent University,
Discharged into homelessness What is the extent of the problem? How does it happen? What has been done about it? Why hasn’t it worked? What is the ‘New Keys’ initiative? What do we know about mentoring? What happens next?
The enduring problem 61% reconviction rate (SEU, 2002) has only fallen to 58% (MoJ, 2013) At sentence, 15% homeless (inc. 9% sleeping rough) + 34% vulnerably housed (MoJ, 2012) 79% reconviction rate for homeless Housing reduces reconviction by 20% A third report nowhere to stay on release (c30,000 ex-prisoners/year)
How does it happen? Prison risks homelessness: –Informal arrangements lost; –Housing Benefit entitlement ends; –Failure to negotiate end of tenancy; –Release brings homelessness and debt. Homelessness risks reoffending: –Reverting to criminal networks; –Housing gives an interest in staying out; –Housing connects to opportunities.
What has been done? 2002 ‘Vulnerable’ offenders prioritised in homelessness legislation 2003 Supporting People fund for housing support services 2004 National Action Plan → NOMS + target to ↑ prisoners with housing on release 2012 Prison Service Instruction core offer includes housing support
Why hasn’t it worked? Support worker frustrations –Exclusions –Poorly integrated services Offender frustrations –Advice failed to generate action –No support through the prison gate –Narrow perspectives and conflicting agendas
New initiatives 2010 Green Paper, Breaking the Cycle, committed to tackling reoffending; 2013 consultation produced Transforming Rehabilitation and Offender Rehabilitation Act, 2014; Mentoring especially commended through website,
What is New Keys? Intended as a volunteer mentoring scheme Big Lottery funded, run by day centre in collaboration with local prison Prolific repeat offenders, short-term sentences, early 20s, 90% homeless Aims to sustain rehousing, prevent reoffending and overcome social isolation
Who made up the sample? 6 recent ex-prisoners 5 worked with New Keys before release 4 were prolific acquisitive offenders All accommodated, but 5 at risk of homelessness on release All had broken relationships 5 had substance misuse problems 4 had diagnosed mental health problems
Why did they reoffend? Importance of substance misuse, mainly for ‘self-medication’; Resulted in homelessness and crime, which became mutually reinforcing; Rejection by support systems; Only sources of support were criminal friendships and prison itself.
What worked with New Keys? (1) Short-term Giving priority to housing “Even though I was locked up in a different prison she still went out of her way and done all this work for me. … She came and picked me up in the morning I got out of prison, she came all the way over to [the other prison] and picked me up and brought me here.” (SU6) Flexible, holistic, personal support “[The OSO] sits and listens and she’ll be there for me. No matter what’s going through me at the time she’s there for me, night or day. That to me is a blessing. Really been there for me. It’s like an angel sitting on my shoulder.” (SU5)
What worked with New Keys? (2) Long-term Sustaining secure accommodation –Only SU3 making progress Overcoming substance dependency –100% abstinence needed more than New Keys Finding an occupation –Work important in 5 cases, even if unpaid Restoring lost relationships –New Keys indirectly important in 4 cases
Conclusion Key ingredients –Link with day centre –Engagement ‘through the gate’ –Continuity and scope of support Implications for findings elsewhere –Mentoring might not provide all this –Personalised approaches affirmed –‘Housing First’: priority to accommodation, but not necessarily independent