The Chief Inspector of Probation’s latest report makes for disturbing reading. It found that only 8% of those available for work after leaving prison were supported into employment, 60% did not have settled accommodation on release and less than a third had received support with family and relationships.
Having a home, work and positive relationships provide a stable bridge to life outside, helping people to contribute to their families and society, which benefits us all.
Instead, too often people are not sufficiently supported to build employment skills and strengthen relationships while in prison.
Positive relationships with probation staff and connections to voluntary and community services are crucial. These staff and organisations need sufficient time and resources to work with people in the lead up to and after their release to provide the practical solutions that set them up for success after prison. As the Chief Inspector highlights, not doing so results in people being recalled to prison. There must be an end to a revolving door which holds individuals, and our country, back.
This concerning report comes at a time when the government is pushing ahead with plans to build more prisons. Instead, efforts and resources should be focused on better supporting people in the prisons we currently haveto ensure that once they leave prison, they don’t return. That’s the common sense solution.