Nearly 200 sex offenders released from prison with nowhere to live

·2-min read
The gate into a corridor inside Beaufort House, a skill development unit for enhanced prisoners. Part of HMP/YOI Portland, a resettlement prison with a capacity for 530 prisoners.Dorset, United Kingdom. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)
Thousands of high risk prisoners were said to be homeless upon release. (Getty)

Almost 200 sex offenders have been released from prison without a home to go to, figures from the Ministry of Justice have revealed.

Over 100 were said to be of "high" or "very high" risk to the public, according to MoJ data obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

On 68 occasions, "high and very high risk" sex offenders had no accommodation on release, while 53 homelessness cases involved "high risk" sex offenders and 70 involved "medium risk" prisoners.

Authorities have warned that prisoners who are homeless upon release are almost twice as likely to be sent back to jail.

A prisoner accompanied by an officer walking through the prison to visits. HMP/YOI Portland, Dorset. A resettlement prison with a capacity for 530 prisoners. Portland, Dorset, United Kingdom. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)
Homeless ex-convicts are almost twice as likely to be sent back to jail within 12 months. (Getty)

The figures relate to a period between 2018 and 2019 during which time the report found that 22% of prisoners presenting the highest risk to the public were homeless or had nowhere stable to stay.

In total, there were 11,435 occasions when prisoners were homeless when they were let out – 16% of released male offenders and 18% of female inmates.

Justin Russell, the chief inspector of probation, has urged the government to provide homes for prisoners being released.

He said: "We were particularly disturbed by the high numbers of higher-risk prisoners being released into homelessness or unsettled accommodation."

Read more: Re-offending fears as probation service 'fails to learn from past mistakes'

“It is difficult for probation services to protect the public and support rehabilitation if individuals are not in stable accommodation.”

But the Probation Service, which is part of the MoJ, claimed the figures did not necessarily mean prisoners "remained homeless" since the accommodation data relates only to the day of their release.

It also said new teams had been set up to help offenders find housing after time behind bars.

A spokesperson said: "Public protection is our number one priority.

“Sex offenders on licence must report regularly to their probation officer and abide by strict conditions which if breached can see them go back to prison."

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