Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 18:29 UK

Police chief backs housing plan

Generic picture of a council house
Released prisoners could be housed in empty council housing stock

A chief constable has backed the idea of using empty council homes to re-house ex-offenders who have been released from their prison sentences.

Tim Hollis, of Humberside Police, revealed his backing for the scheme at a conference to tackle prisoners' re-offending.

Senior police officers, probation experts and business leaders were at the event at South Cave in East Yorks.

Mr Hollis said the idea had merit, but had to be well supported.

He said: "We got to be realistic about this, because actually, there will inevitably be some genuine concern within the community.

"There are some good opportunities there which we welcome and would support.

"But we can't do it in a naive fashion, it's got to be well managed, well supported - but also well supported by the wider community - which is why events such as this are important."

Concern

The conference followed visits to prisons in the region by the High Sheriff of the East Riding of Yorkshire, Nicholas Hildyard, in his official capacity during his year of office.

Prison governors had expressed their concern at what they viewed as the "restricted opportunities" available to released prisoners for employment and accommodation.

The consequence of those restrictions, prison officials believe, is that offenders commit 57% of recorded crime shortly after their release from prison.

The High Sheriff & Humberside Police Tribune Trust, which works for safer communities, said re-offending dropped by half when homes and jobs were found for former offenders.




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