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Blog: How can housing associations help to reduce reoffending?

Scottish Prison Service details how housing associations can help those leaving

By Jeremy Hewer, SFHA Policy Adviser

Delegates attending the EVH Governing Board Members’ Conference, held in Glasgow on Sunday 2 April, heard from Rob Strachan, Divisional Head of Strategy, Planning and Partnerships at the Scottish Prison Service, about how housing associations could play a role in reducing reoffending.

Rob’s plenary address, entitled ‘Round Pegs in Square Holes: Our Shared Challenges’, highlighted the gap in provision for people leaving prison. With Scotland having the second highest imprisonment rate in Europe, and without a place to go to, he said that people leaving prison with mental health or addiction problems often cannot get the access to services they need. The challenge of preparing an adequate release plan was made all the more difficult by the frequent use of short sentences and the narrow time frame to prepare such plans. It was therefore hardly surprising that a high proportion of those leaving prison lapse into reoffending. The challenge is therefore for the Scottish Prison Service to establish more partnership working with housing associations and other support agencies.

SFHA have been working in partnership with Scottish Prison Service to find ways to increase partnership working, and have contributed to the development of standards that will be published shortly. 

In addition to the keynote address, and a plenary on succession planning, delivered by EVH’s Director, Eamonn Connolly, there were also workshops, including ‘Making the Transition to Universal Credit’ which I delivered.