Housing and homelessness charity, BHT Sussex, has welcomed the government announcement to end Friday releases from jail for vulnerable prisoners. Many organisations, including BHT Sussex, have long been calling for this change. Currently one in three prisoners are released from prison on a Friday, leaving them with very limited time to access crucial support services and housing before they close for the weekend. This is particularly difficult for prisoners with multiple complex needs who may be vulnerable to addiction, mental health issues and homelessness.
Leading this call in Sussex has been Fulfilling Lives South East, a project operating in Brighton, Hastings and Eastbourne, which has been campaigning with others for this policy change for a number of years. The project is coming to an end this month after eight years working for and alongside people with multiple complex needs. It provided intensive support for some of the most vulnerable people in society alongside advocating for changes to systems and policies that negatively impact them.
Jo Rogers, Senior Manager at BHT Sussex said:
“An important aim of the Fulfilling Lives South East project was to challenge and change systems, and we are delighted that the government has announced this change to Friday prison releases. It is the result of a lot of hard work by ourselves and others in highlighting this issue as an additional barrier for people trying to access support after being released from prison.
“We have long advocated on this issue, from collaborating on national research and media campaigns, to delivering training for probation officers. This policy change will make a real difference to vulnerable ex-offenders for whom the first few days out of prison are crucial in accessing valuable community support to avoid getting trapped in a cycle of repeat offending.”
Campbell Robb, Nacro Chief Executive said:
“Now people will have vital extra time during the working week to secure housing, register with probation and access health services. This will help people have the best chance at their second chance.”