One in five female prisoners are released into homelessness after the number doubled over the last year, figures requested by Labour show.
Data from the Ministry of Justice show that 227 out of 1,087 women released from prison in the second quarter of 2017 had no accommodation recorded by their community rehabilitation company (CRC). In the same quarter of 2016, 103 were recorded as homeless.
In total, almost a third of female offenders released under CRC supervision had “unknown or unsettled accommodation outcomes”, according to written parliamentary answers.
Labour said the overall proportion of offenders released into homelessness was up by 12% over the past year, calling into question the effectiveness of the government’s promises to rehabilitate prisoners.
Imran Hussain, a shadow justice minister, said: “The Tories are presiding over a failing justice system that is putting public safety and confidence at risk. 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 community rehabilitation companies 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.”
An MoJ spokesperson said: “The justice secretary has been clear that we are committed to improving work across government to help prisoners and ex-offenders find a home, as well as a job, help with debt, or treatment for a drug addiction.
“As part of this, we are working with the Department for Communities and Local Government to develop a pilot project enabling offenders to find – and stay in – private rented accommodation following release from prison, building on existing government support for those at risk of homelessness.
“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.”