Brighton charity welcomes government pledge not to free prisoners on Fridays

Posted On 21 Jun 2022 at 12:01 am

A charity based in Brighton has welcomed a government announcement that it will end the release of prison inmates on Fridays.

BHT Sussex, the housing and homeless charity, said it was one of a number of organisations to have long called for the change of policy.

The charity said: “Currently one in three prisoners are released from prison on a Friday, leaving them with very limited time to access crucial support services and housing before they close for the weekend.

“This is particularly difficult for prisoners with multiple complex needs who may be vulnerable to addiction, mental health issues and homelessness.

“Leading this call locally has been Fulfilling Lives South East, a project operating in Brighton, Hastings and Eastbourne, and run by BHT Sussex, which has been campaigning with others for this policy change for a number of years.

“The project is coming to an end this month after eight years working for and alongside people with multiple complex needs.

“It provided intensive support for some of the most vulnerable people in society alongside advocating for changes to systems and policies that negatively impact them.”

Jo Rogers, a senior manager at BHT Sussex, said: “An important aim of the Fulfilling Lives South East project was to challenge and change systems – and we are delighted that the government has announced this change to Friday prison releases.

“It is the result of a lot of hard work by ourselves and others in highlighting this issue as an additional barrier for people trying to access support after being released from prison.

“We have long advocated on this issue, from collaborating on national research and media campaigns, to delivering training for probation officers.

“This policy change will make a real difference to vulnerable ex-offenders for whom the first few days out of prison are crucial in accessing valuable community support to avoid getting trapped in a cycle of repeat offending.”

Nacro chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Now people will have vital extra time during the working week to secure housing, register with probation and access health services. This will help people have the best chance at their second chance.”

For more information about the legacy of the Fulfilling Lives project and the effect that it has had for people with multiple complex needs, visit: https://www.bht.org.uk/fulfilling-lives.

Fulfilling Lives is an eight-year programme, from 2014 to 2022, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Fulfilling Lives partnerships work in 12 locations across the country, with the Fulfilling Lives South East project working in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings.

The project is led by BHT Sussex and supported by a range of voluntary and statutory partners.

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