Ex-convicts from HM Prison Bristol should be provided temporary housing says the region’s police and crime commissioner
Temporary housing for ex-convicts could be built across Avon and Somerset to close the revolving door on repeat offenders.
Police and crime commissioner Mark Shelford is calling on council leaders to find land for prefabricated properties that could be built by the inmates themselves.
He emphasised the need for stability in the form of bank accounts, ID and housing, reporting that prisoners released on a Friday with nowhere to go are far more likely to be back in custody by the end of the weekend.
Mr Shelford told police and crime panel members earlier this month: “When you’re speaking to MPs and other influential people in the criminal justice system please remind them how we’re trying to drive this vision to prevent that revolving door?
“It’s incredibly important to provide accommodation when people come out of jail so they don’t go back to their old ways, they don’t go back to their old friends which cause them quite often to be nicked that first weekend back into jail.”
He said he was due to meet the chair of the Association of PCCs in Gloucester to see a set of prefabricated units that have been built by prisoners.
“What a fabulous project to try to roll out across the whole of Avon and Somerset and try to get councils to think about whether there’s set aside land where we can have a small number of temporary homes put in – just a small number, 10, to give prisoners somewhere to stay,” said Mr Shelford.
“It’s difficult to get planning permission. if we can think imaginatively, creatively, particularly around prisoners, that would be great.”
Councillor Asher Craig said such initiatives can face “nimbyism” but added: “When you explain and bring people with you they are a bit more accommodating.”