Housing scheme helping to deter re-offending

A housing support scheme led by the Staffordshire Commissioner to deter offenders from lapsing is to be rolled onto another year after being deemed a success.

The county-wide service is designed to help offenders integrate into the community, with a view to encourage well-being and good behaviour.

The service helps obtain appropriate accommodation in the community as part of a planned programme of rehabilitation and resettlement.

It plays an important role in supporting work to prevent and reducing offending across the county, supporting criminal justice agencies and local public protection partnerships to assist offenders who are homeless or in need of help with housing.

And more than two thirds of those referred to the service go onto successful complete their community orders and achieve successful long-term resettlement in the community.

As a result, the current two-year contract for the service – with Accord Housing Association – will be extended for a further 12 months, with a review beyond that.

The office for the Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime acts as the lead for the service on behalf of a number of co-commissioner partners, including his office, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the National Probation Service and Staffordshire and West Midlands Community Rehabilitations Company.

Staffordshire Commissioner Matthew Ellis said:

‘The work we’ve done over the past few months with prisons across the West Midlands shows clearly that housing and stability are critical factors in getting people back into mainstream society and away from committing crime.

‘We have to close the ever-revolving door of criminality – prison, then release and then criminality again. We must break that cycle so those who are prepared to play by society’s rules have the best chance of doing so.

‘This is not about soft options, it is about dealing with the high rates of re-offending historically, in part, because of hopelessness and chaotic lifestyles.

‘Doing this effectively is difficult for all manner of reasons and it won’t always work but the evidence shows more individuals return to playing a productive role in society when they are supported. Reducing or eliminating repeat criminality is beneficial to everyone and this service will help to achieve that.’