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Government attacks 'homeless prisoner' figures

Swaleside Prison
Swaleside Prison

THE Ministry of Justice has hit back at claims about the numbers of prisoners being released homeless from Sheppey's three prisons.

Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps has obtained figures through the Freedom of Information Act which reveal that in 2005/06 there were 10 prisoners released homeless from Swaleside high security prison; 220 from Elmley remand prison and 80 from Standford Hill open prison.

He said: "Right now there's a revolving door from prison release to homelessness and often back into prison again.

"It's a trap which is letting everyone down and renders what little rehabilitation work goes on within prison virtually useless."

A Ministry of Justice spokesman, said: "These statistics reflect the number of prisoners released without a permanent address. This does not necessarily mean they are homeless.

"We are committed to delivering settled housing to released prisoners to ensure we reduce re-offending and protect the public.

"The majority of prisons in England and Wales provide housing advice and all local prisons are required to conduct an initial housing needs assessment within an offender's first four days in custody.

"A reducing re-offending housing pack has recently been published to improve support, including early assessment and action. Guidance has also just been published on the importance of housing on release for women prisoners, which covers practice to preserve housing."

* The Ministry of Justice is the new name for the Home Office section dealing with prisons.

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