Jason was born in a women’s prison and had a rough childhood. At the age of 8 he was taken into care and since the age of 15 he’s been in and out of custody. He’s now 26 and has significant mental health issues.
He was sure that his release this time would all ‘go wrong’ and he’d told prison staff he planned to immediately re-offend just to get back in the system. He had nowhere to stay once he was out, and he’d been self-harming more and more as the date got closer. He had no real relationship with his family and, to make matters worse, he didn’t know London at all, which was where he was going to be resettled.
At 10.30am on a Friday, Jason was let out of prison. His Nacro support worker gave him an Oyster card with £10 credit on it and a mobile, and they went to Jason’s probation appointment.
Thanks to a joy rider causing huge traffic jams, they missed their appointment to get long term accommodation. This meant they had no choice but to request emergency housing. At any time this is a major blow for a prison leaver, but because this happened on a Friday it meant wherever Jason was given was going to have to be his home for at least the next three nights at least.
Located in central London, the place he was given to stay had no bedding and a bloodstained mattress. There was blood all over the bathroom, leaks everywhere and dangerous wiring in the hallways. People were coming in and out and sleeping on the floor outside Jason’s room, and knocking on his door for alcohol throughout the night.
His support worker kept in touch over the weekend and, thankfully, Jason made it to the following week in relatively good shape considering the circumstances. On Monday his support worker helped him get into better accommodation.
By ending Friday releases we can minimise the chances of a highly vulnerable person ending up with no choice but to spend the weekend in accommodation that puts them at risk.