Housing ex-prisoners: the role of the third sector.

Alice Mills, Dina Gojkovic, Rosie Meek, David Mullins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The aim of the paper is to examine the contribution made by housing-related third sector organisations (TSOs) in assisting ex-prisoners to find housing, and the barriers they face in doing so.

Design/methodology/approach – An offender survey was used to measure awareness of and engagement with TSOs in eight prisons, alongside qualitative interviews with prisoners, criminal justice staff and TSO representatives.

Findings – Despite the involvement of TSOs, securing accommodation for ex-prisoners remains complex and difficult, largely due to high service demand, housing shortages, budget cuts, and needs assessment and allocations systems which reduce the responsiveness of housing providers to the reducing re-offending agenda.

Research limitations/implications – The research benefited from a mixed-method approach which captured the perceptions of service users and professionals. The response rate for the offender survey was low (12 per cent), and the survey findings should be treated with caution.

Practical implications – Local authorities and other housing providers need to be more willing to accept ex-prisoners as potential service users, and better links need to be made between local homelessness strategies, choice based lettings systems and prisoner resettlement programmes. Providing support services to ex-offenders may encourage such acceptance and help to maintain the motivation to desist from crime.

Originality/value – Previous research has paid little specific attention to the role of TSOs in (ex)offender housing. This paper addresses this omission by drawing on original empirical research to examine the value of their work in securing accommodation for ex-prisoners and helping to reduce re-offending.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-49
JournalSafer Communities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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