The cost to the taxpayer of re-offending is in excess of £15 billion a year.
It is in everyone’s interest to bring this cost down. Currently, of the 65,000 releases or licences a year, around 50% reoffend within 12 months, so support to break the circle of reoffending is vital. 60% of prisoners say that having a place to live was an important factor in stopping them from re-offending. Nearly 80% of ex-offenders who reported being homeless before custody were re-convicted in the first year after release and figures show that there has been a 25-fold increase in rough sleeping among those who served sentences of less than six months.
Failures in rehabilitation include individuals leaving prison with no fixed accommodation, no financial support and no prospect of finding work, as employment significantly reduces the chances of re-offending. Over 30% of ex-offenders report having a learning difficulty and/or disability and nearly half are estimated to have no school qualifications, including GCSEs, therefore support and education in tandem with the provision of permanent accommodation is vital to reduce reoffending rates.
Ex-offenders, who have served their sentence and want to change their lives, deserve a second chance: the 2020 Initiative aims to provide both accommodation and appropriate and timely support which reduces the likelihood of reoffending
The 2020 Initiative includes a range of services to integrate ex-offenders back into society by accessing education, training and work opportunities including i.a.:
- Support and skills to enter in the labour market
- Identifying how individuals can fit back into their communities and make a positive fresh start
- Coordinating between a range of agencies
- Helping people who have drug or alcohol issues
- Managing money
- Accessing benefits
- Support in working towards independent living