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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 00:02 GMT
Released prisoner cash 'too low'
Prison (generic)
A third of prisoners lose their homes while inside, says Citizens' Advice
The amount of cash given to prisoners when they are freed from jail should more than double, a charity has said.

Citizens' Advice claimed the current discharge grant of 46.75 - which has been fixed for the last decade - should be raised to more than 114.90.

The charity said the current rate contributed to many released inmates re-offending as a result of poverty.

The Home Office said the grant was only one "part of the work performed to resettle offenders."

'Return to crime'

Many may feel that they have little option but to return to crime
Citizens' Advice

"Too often, recently-released prisoners are left without any means of support or stable accommodation," said Citizens' Advice chief David Harker.

"As a result many may feel that they have little option but to return to crime."

"The discharge grant is meant to meet living expenses for the first week after release," a Citizens' Advice spokesman said.

"But most ex-prisoners have to wait much longer for benefit claims to be processed and for payments to start."

The Home Office responded to these claims saying: "the Department of Work and Pensions and National Offender Management Service officials are working together on a solution to speed up the payments of benefits."

Mounting debt

Half of prisoners split with their families and a third lost their homes while they were inside, Citizens' Advice said.

A third faced mounting debts and many were left with no income for long periods on release, according to the charity.

"The discharge grant is only part of the work performed by prisons and other agencies to successfully resettle offenders," a Prisons Service spokeswoman said.

"This includes work to increase the percentage of offenders released into suitable accommodation and efforts to reduce the time taken to process benefit claims."

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