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Housing policy and systems - Essay Example

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Describe the key housing challenges faced by prison leavers, a particular group of vulnerable people. Examine the extent to which these challenges are addressed by UK housing policy and practice. Introduction Housing has been a very critical and challenging segment of the criminal justice system…
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Download file to see previous pages 4). Government Policy As per the government policy (Criminal Justice, 2009) on prisoners’ homelessness, they are supposed to fulfil a Housing Needs Initial Assessment (HNIA) for 90% of new prisoners within four days of their entry into the prison to facilitate attention to any of the offender accommodation issues, on keeping or closing tenancies. It was envisaged that at the minimum, 80% of the offenders should opt for housing after acquittal. The 2002 Homelessness Act added the groups of homeless people with a preferential housing requirement for vulnerable prisoners. What is required from Government and Private Entities? Various policy-related issues such as housing appraisals after prisoners’ custody have been highlighted for designing an action plan to tackle a number of prisoners’ housing issues. Prisoners need to be provided housing advice in prisons through voluntary agencies to facilitate increased regularity in housing advice. Both prisoners and prison staff should be informed well in advance of prisoners’ release to arrange suitable housing. The offered grant needs to match with the concurrent housing costs. Any blanket ban on ex-offenders by the local government or the housing associations should discontinue. The new housing developments need to consider the housing needs of ex-prisoners in the formulation of local and regional-level accommodation planning and strategies. Temporary suitable arrangements for prison leavers need to be envisaged by the local authorities. It may include cross-borough arrangements and commissioning in relatively smaller areas. Alternate long-term housing options such as rent deposit schemes (RDS) may be examined (Criminal Justice, 2009). There is reduced connectivity between homelessness and criminal justice areas. Increased cooperation between prison and probation services and housing and homelessness can bridge the gaps of communication. Local-level settings offer possibility for increased collaboration towards strategic planning of ex-prisoners’ housing needs. More resources need to be devoted for prisoners on probation for planning their release and resettlement into the community. Not-for-profit sector can play an important role if additional resources are provided to them to ensure early releasers. Local government should rank high the housing issues of ex-prisoners to devise strategies for secure communities (Criminal Justice, 2009). Literature Review Prisoners’ accommodation after their release from prison can help in decreasing their level of recidivism, as revealed in a number of reports, for example, a report by the Social Exclusion Unit has argued that guaranteed housing decreases the risk of re-offending by 1/5th. Additionally, a homeless prisoner can be problematic due to not finding any employment. Latest literature has revealed deficiency of suitable housing interventions (Mackie, 2008). Housing interventions need to begin early during the undergoing of the sentence of prisoners. It is found that at least 1/3rd of prisoners don’t have permanent houses before booked to be jailed. They need help, therefore, before going to the prison (Allender et al., as cited by Mackie, 2008). There are other prisoners who undergo major problems when starting their prison time, as they had entered into tenancy agreements or own houses at that time. They don’t get enough backing to sustain their tenancies or close them. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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