30 May 2019
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report The health of Australia’s prisoners 2018 released today, shows that 55 per cent of Australian prisoners surveyed said they would be homeless on release from prison.
This includes 2 per cent who said they were expecting to sleep rough, 44 per cent who said they would go into crisis accommodation, and 8 per cent who said they didn’t know where they were going to sleep at all.
This is a sharp increase from 2015, when 40 per cent of respondents said they would be homeless on release from prison.
“It makes it much harder for people to turn their lives around when they don’t have the stability of secure housing,” says Homelessness Australia Chair Jenny Smith.
“We know that exiting prison into homelessness makes it more likely people will reoffend, making the community less safe, and resulting in increased costs in the justice system.
The report also showed that the number of prisoners who experienced homelessness before incarceration rose from 30 per cent in 2015 to 33 per cent in 2018.
“The newly elected Federal Government can take a leading role in creating a safer community by investing in social housing growth together with state and territory governments,” says Ms Smith.
Recent UNSW research identified that Australia has a social housing shortfall of 437,600 properties. Currently 195,215 Australian households are on waiting lists for social housing.
“These figures also highlight the importance of the federal government developing a national plan to end homelessness; a plan that includes targets and resources to reduce entry into homelessness from prisons, as well as from hospitals, mental health care, and out of home care.”
Media enquiries: Isabelle Oderberg, Homelessness Australia, 0435 966 251 or firstname.lastname@example.org