Former Switchback Trainee shares his story of making a new start after being released from prison homeless. Read the article in The Big Issue here.
Jason (name changed) was one of the thousands of people who left prison during the pandemic without a stable place to live.
Switchback’s analysis of government data published on July 29 shows 52% of prison leavers were released without settled accommodation in the year to March 2021, equal to 33,000 people. Some 16,000 prison leavers – 26% – were released homeless or to unknown circumstances, rising to 44% in London.
“It feels like you’re swimming against the current. And there could be alligators in the water, piranhas, sharks, there could be anything along the way but we’re still swimming.”
Having spent months staying in hotels, Jason finally managed to secure a permanent address. Thanks to his tireless determination, and with support from Switchback, he started a business apprenticeship and is working towards his dream of setting up his own nutrition company.
However, too many prison leavers don’t get the support they need to build a stable life. This is a huge waste of human potential, and often pushes people straight into reoffending: Ministry of Justice data shows that people released from prison homeless are over 50% more likely to reoffend within a year.
Switchback is calling for every prison leaver to be guaranteed accommodation upon release, to enable people to make a change and start building fulfilling lives away from crime.