New keys for old doors: breaking the vicious circle connecting homelessness and re-offending

BOWPITT, G., 2015. New keys for old doors: breaking the vicious circle connecting homelessness and re-offending. In: Z. IRVING, M. FENGER and J. HUDSON, eds., Social policy review 27: analysis and debate in social policy, 2015. Bristol: Policy Press. ISBN 9781447322771

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Abstract

Policy-makers concerned with preventing re-offending have long been aware of the relationship between crime and homelessness. Single homeless people are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be drawn into criminal sub-cultures and to receive custodial sentences when they offend. Likewise, offenders are more likely to re-offend in the absence of stable accommodation, while custodial sentences frequently put accommodation at risk, creating a vicious circle. This is especially true of offenders given short-term prison sentences of 3-12 months. This concern has been given a new imperative in the UK by the passing of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014, and the extension of statutory rehabilitation to short-term prisoners. Policy-makers concerned with effective offender management are therefore keen to explore ways in which securing stable accommodation might reduce re-offending.
This chapter seeks to provide evidence from an evaluation of a small-scale attempt to use the procurement of stable accommodation as a key element in a package of support designed to reduce the likelihood of reoffending among a particular group of offenders with short-term sentences for prolific acquisitive crime, 90% of whom were homeless at the time they were sentenced. The evaluated project is managed by a partnership between a Category B Community Prison in the English Midlands and a voluntary sector day centre for homeless adults, to which service users frequently gravitate on release. The evaluation explores the effectiveness of the project in preparing participants for release and in preventing homelessness, re-offending and social isolation. Data were gathered from interviews with service users and key informants from housing and support services to whom referrals are made, in order to advance our understanding of what mediates the relationship between acquiring and maintaining secure accommodation and reductions in criminal activity, thereby informing wider debates around prisoner rehabilitation as a policy objective.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Creators: Bowpitt, G.
Publisher: Policy Press
Place of Publication: Bristol
Date: 2015
Rights: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an extract/chapter published in [insert name of relevant Policy Press monograph here]. Details of the definitive published version and how to purchase it are available online at: http://policypress.co.uk/social-policy-review-27
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:22
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2017 13:23
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11796

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