Prisoners released on a Friday have just a few hours to secure a bed for the night, but a new law could see them free to go up to two days early, giving them precious time to get set up for a life on the outside.
With many essential support services, such as local authority housing, substance misuse support or mental health services closed at weekends and bank holidays, those released on a Friday face an extra set back that could leave them homeless their first night out of prison.
Those released on a Friday “struggle to get the essential support they need on release to keep them away from crime in those first few delicate and crucial days out of custody,” Lord Bird told the House of Lords as the bill reaches its second reading.
If passed, the Offenders (Day of Release from Detention) Bill would allow an ex-convicts’s release date would be brought forward up to two days if falls on a Friday or the day before a bank or public holiday.
“By removing the barriers that a Friday release can bring, we can ensure that custody-leavers have a better chance to access the support they need to reintegrate into the community so that victims and the public are protected,” Lord Bird continued.
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Around a third of all prisoners are released on a Friday, with the reoffending rate for adults released on a Friday is higher than for any other day of the week. Former prisoners living in safe accommodation are around 50 per cent less re-offend.