New report finds essential need for appropriate housing to aid recovery for prison leavers

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6 October 2017

Phoenix welcomes a new report from University of York that warns that drug recovery work in prison is largely futile unless suitable accommodation and support are available to prisoners after release.

Research led by the University of York found that many prisoners experienced a ‘cliff edge’, receiving little or no professional support in the weeks preceding or following release, and were housed in inappropriate hostels or funded B&Bs where drugs and prostitution were rife.

The researchers conclude that without adequate support on release, those who have served their time are likely to relapse and reoffend, no matter how good the support received in prison.

Phoenix provides recovery housing that effectively supports the gains made in treatment by people in recovery with an environment that helps the development of recovery capital. For people leaving prison, residential treatment or escaping homelessness housing is the foundation for building a life away from substance misuse, crime and poor health.    

The new report published today, Evaluation of the Drug Recovery Wing Pilots (Final report: Evaluation of the Drug Recovery Wing Pilots), presents the findings from the major evaluation, which was funded by the NIHR Policy Research Programme, and involved 345 interviews and analysis of questionnaire data from over 1,800 prisoners.

Principal Investigator Charlie Lloyd, of the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences and Department of Social Policy and Social Work, said: “It’s important to recognise that some of the pilot DRWs offered promising approaches, involving dedicated staff working with prisoners who wanted to make real changes to their lives. Unfortunately these plans often came to nought on release.

“We have to ask ourselves whether any of us could make any radical changes to our lives, if we were forced to live in the type of environments many of our ex-prisoner interviewees had to live in on release. Going forward, there is pressing need to give prisoners with a history of drug dependence a realistic chance of making positive changes to their lives once they have served their time and been released from prison.”

For more information on Phoenix's recovery housing approach click here

Phoenix Futures is a registered charity in England and Wales (No 284880) and in Scotland (No SCO39008); Company Limited by Guarantee Number 1626869; Registered Tenant Services Authority Number H3795