The Department for Work and Pensions are planning to change housing
benefit regulations from October to help prisoners in their
resettlement, writes Clare Jerrom.
Under the proposals, which are subject to consultation, it may
be possible for a tenant to claim housing benefit for up to four
weeks when they are liable to pay a landlord for the period of
“This is relevant to the rehabilitation of prisoners who
are sentenced to more than 13 weeks, as rent arrears can prevent a
prisoner from being re-housed on release,” said the Home
Office’s action plan for reducing re-offending published this
The cost of re-offending ex-prisoners is at least £11
billion per year and the plan, which is the government’s
response to the Social Exclusion Unit’s report into
re-offending published in July 2002, sets out the Home
Office’s proposals to tackle the issue, working with the
National Offender Management Service.
The plan highlights concerns that the discharge grant payment of
£37 for 18-24-year-olds and £46.75 for those older than
25 are insufficient for an ex-prisoner to live on until the first
benefit payment is made. Concern was expressed about the number of
ex-offenders refused crisis loans from the Social Fund.
A lack of provision of appropriate housing for young people and
the difficulties in securing education and training for young
people post-custody are also issues raised.
As a result, the Youth Justice Board will set up a national
juvenile resettlement steering group to look at the ways of
addressing the problems that impact on the successful resettlement
of juvenile prisoners.