A lack of transitional housing and support for people leaving prison may be forcing many ex- inmates into some form of homelessness, and perpetuating a cycle of disadvantage and incarceration, a report released today by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) suggests.
Beyond the Prison Gates recounts the experiences of people recently released from prison into homelessness and housing crisis. The report is the result of interviews with 26 people who have exited prison into situations of housing crisis or homelessness.
Over a third of ex-inmates who were interviewed for the project spent their first night out of jail sleeping rough or in some other form of primary homelessness.
‘The research shows we need to do more to support ex-prisoners to find stable housing and employment so that they can escape the cycle of disadvantage, re-offending and incarceration,’ said Lou Schetzer, Senior Policy Officer at PIAC.
‘Most interviewees were shocked by the lack of support they received in the lead-up to, and after, release. In particular, the report highlighted a chronic shortage of crisis and short-term accommodation for people exiting prison,’ Mr Schetzer said.
‘Ensuring that people have somewhere to live, a job, and support in the community is the best way to prevent re-offending, and to help them create a positive new life.
‘Our research suggests that the NSW Government needs to increase transitional accommodation options and have them administered by non-government, community organisations with expertise in providing accommodation and case management for people exiting prison,’ Mr Schetzer said.
MEDIA CONTACT: PIAC Senior Media and Communications Officer, Gemma Pearce 0478 739 280.