Housing access to help prisoners reintegrate into community
Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) is working on removing one of the biggest obstacles facing prisoners when they are released: finding stable and appropriate housing.
The PRSA, launched in October, is for male prisoners eligible for parole but who remain in custody because they don’t have suitable accommodation available to them.
It is part of the Government’s response to the Sofronoff Review of the Queensland Parole system.
International research shows that stable housing is strongly associated with a reduced rate of reoffending, maximising offenders’ chances of staying out of prison by increasing independence and self-reliance and access to social and community support.
Deputy Commissioner, Community Corrections and Specialist Operations, Paul Stewart said QCS was working to deliver appropriate rental accommodation for suitable prisoners leaving custody in Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba and Moreton Bay.
“The Post Release Supported Accommodation Service (PRSA) is part of QCS’ commitment to reduce crime by preventing reoffending,” Deputy Commissioner Stewart said.
“Former prisoners often find it difficult to find suitable accommodation as they may not have the resources to fund a bond, for example, or possibly face discrimination.
“PRSA provides temporary residential accommodation, sourced from the private rental market, along with support to locate longer-term, stable accommodation.
“Having a permanent address makes it easier for released prisoners to apply for jobs, stay in touch with their families, keep regular contact with social services and lead as normal a life as possible,” Deputy Commissioner Stewart said.
“All of this helps offenders reconnect and reintegrate into their community, which greatly reduces their chances of reoffending and returning to prison.”
“Our purpose is to strengthen the parole system as a whole, to deliver effective rehabilitation, reintegration and supervision of prisoners and offenders from the moment they are sentenced, through incarceration to the completion of their order,” Deputy Commissioner Stewart said.