East Sussex Reoffending and IOM Needs Assessment Accommodation and Offending
Having stable accommodation can reduce reconviction rates by over 20%. (Home Office) 60% of prisoners named having somewhere to live as the most important factor in preventing a return to crime (Ministry of Justice) The most vulnerable time is the transition period from prison to life outside, the three weeks post release being the most critical period for reoffending (Ministry of Justice) Reoffending by ex prisoners costs the country £11 billion a year Why is it important?
One third of prisoners lose their housing whilst in custody Women are less likely to have housing arranged for their release 1 in 20 prisoners were sleeping rough prior to being sent to prison 79% of prisoners who had no accommodation prior to prison were reconvicted within one year This compares to 47% who had accommodation Accommodation and Prison
19% of offenders on the probation caseload were of ‘No Fixed Abode’ in 2009 Between 31% and 44% of offenders on the probation caseload between 2008 and 2009 had an identified accommodation need Treatment failure was likely in 20% of cases where drug users had an unmet accommodation need Local Need
In your experience…. 1) What are your thoughts in relation to the findings on accommodation needs of offenders in East Sussex? (e.g. is this larger/smaller than expected) 2) Are there areas in East Sussex where you think offenders are more or less likely to have accommodation needs? 3) In your experience, are there any groups of offenders who are more likely to have an unmet accommodation need? (e.g. older offenders, BME groups of offenders) 4) In your experience, do offenders experience any further barriers in communicating their accommodation needs and seeking support? Facilitated Discussion
Undertaken by East Sussex Advice Plus Limited sample size of 15. Methods included telephone interviews and in depth discussion in two focus groups Service users came from Seaview, people attending Drugs Services and Probation Questions focused on type of sentencing, Housing, Debt, Employment and Benefits. Offender Consultation
Consultation Findings Housing and Prison Many of those who could have claimed housing benefit did not. The most common reason cited for this was a lack of understanding that this was possible. (Often in spite of seeing a DWP advisor) 73% of those surveyed said that they did not receive advice or information about keeping their home whilst in prison. 8 people noted that they lost their home and felt that a lack of knowledge of their rights in relation to housing, and / or housing benefit, contributed to this. Only 3 people, upon release, returned to their own home or (in one case) the rented accommodation they had had before entering prison.
Consultation Findings Housing General Only 20% of those surveyed have not lost or been at risk of losing their home during the period in which they have been offending, or afterwards. 47% were explicit that they had lost their home. Three people said that they had lost their home and possessions more than once. Sometimes, it appears landlords were acting illegally Just under two thirds of those surveyed said that they felt secure accommodation would make them less likely to offend. Welfare Benefits Benefit advice, which could have helped offenders retain accommodation, was not given to the majority of those on remand (64%) or in prison (55%).
Consultation Findings Welfare Benefits continued Those who received help from a DWP advisor before they left prison received their benefits more quickly on release; within 1-2 weeks. For those who had not received advice before they left prison 37% didn’t receive benefits for a month and 36% had to wait between 4-6 weeks. 47% felt that help to claim benefits or manage their money would have stopped them from offending or reoffending. 55% of people leaving prison, and claiming benefits applied for a Crisis Loan and 45% made an application for a Social Fund/Community Care Grant. However, 2 people weren’t aware that they could apply for this Grant.
Local Authority Housing Floating Support Rent Deposit or Bonded Guarantee Schemes Housing and Benefits advice and advocacy Homelessness services Prison Accommodation advice Services Accommodation and Support Services
Facilitated Discussion In your experience… 1) What are your thoughts in relation to the offender consultation findings? 2) Where are the greatest gaps in accommodation and support services (now and in the future) and how can these be overcome? 3) What are the advantages and pitfalls of service provision for offenders as it is currently structured? 4) Are there any other means of supporting offenders with accommodation needs to resettle/reform? What are the advantages/pitfalls with these?
Integrated Offender Management Discusses people who have the greatest need and are most likely to reoffend at weekly multi-agency meetings Aims to put a package of support around clients that meet their needs holistically Ensures intervention is directed where the need/harm is greatest
Facilitated Discussion How can the service you represent link in with the Integrated Offender Management approach, to ensure the accommodation and support needs of offenders are met?