Convicted crims in housing crisis after released from jail

A LACK of housing opportunities for recently released prisoners in NSW is likely fuelling a cycle of disadvantage and incarceration, a report has found.

By interviewing ex-inmates across the state, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre learned that more than a third of convicted criminals spent their first night of freedom "sleeping rough".

The report, Beyond the Prison Gates, suggests that without better programs to support integration back into society, life behind bars could seem like a safer option.

Senior Police Officer at PIAC, Lou Schetzer, believes helping ex-prisoners find stable accommodation is in the community interest.

"Most interviewees were shocked by the lack of support they received in the lead-up to, and after, release. In particular, the report highlighted a chronic shortage of crisis and short-term accommodation for people exiting prison," Mr Schetzer said.

"Ensuring that people have somewhere to live, a job, and support in the community is the best way to prevent re-offending, and to help them create a positive new life."

The report was launched with the release of a short video, following the story of "Dale" who left prison in 2011 and found himself in the middle of a housing crisis.

The video can be viewed at http://www.piac.asn.au


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