The government announced a new Rough Sleeping Strategy on 13 August. A small part of the strategy focused on the criminal justice system. The importance of accessing safe and secure accommodation on release from prison was acknowledged, and the need to improve the resettlement process. In a blog announcing the parts of the strategy relevant to the justice system, Minister Rory Stewart noted the link between homelessness and reoffending as well as the fact that living on the streets increased a person's vulnerability to both abuse and addiction.
Pilots were announced to provide additional support to prisoners 'identified as being at risk of rough sleeping on release'. The pilots will involve additional staff in prisons working on resettlement plans, as well as multi-agency working requiring prisons, National Probation Service (NPS), Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) and local authorities to work together to produce plans. In addition, new processes to ensure prisoners can access benefits and employment support on release from prison will also be piloted.
In an effort to ensure accountability, a new metric of 'accommodation on release' will be used to assess performance of prison governors, in addition to CRCs (who are already assessed using this measure). The commitment set out in the Female Offender Strategy to focus on accommodation for women either on community sentences or on release from prison was reiterated.