Reshape Release

Join Switchback's call to give people a real chance to change after prison.

Join Switchback’s call to Reshape Release

Every month, thousands of people are released from prison with just a plastic bag of belongings and nowhere to go.

This is not only a huge waste of human potential – it’s also causing more crime and placing huge strain on public spending.

We’re calling on the government to reshape release for people leaving prison, to reduce reoffending and give people a real chance to change.

Watch this video featuring former Switchback Trainees Luke, Fadel, Brian and Patrick to find out more:

In order to thrive, people first need the basic essentials to survive.

Switchback’s evidence, and wider research, is clear that supportive relationships are key to enabling prison leavers to build stable lives away from crime.

But our Trainees tell us that people first need the bare essentials just to survive: access to housing, technology and finance.

Over and over again, we meet people who want to make a new start after prison but are held back by homelessness and hardship.

According to government data:

50,000 people are released from prison each year
1 in 3 are released homeless or to unknown circumstances

Switchback Trainees tell us…

Among Switchback Trainees:

46% are released with no bank account
25% are released with no ID
20% are released with no phone

Research shows:

Prison leavers are 56% more likely to reoffend when homeless
80% of all convictions and cautions are due to reoffending.
Reoffending costs the economy £18bn every year

Sources: Howard League; Ministry of Justice

What needs to change?

In 2021, following campaigns by organisations including Switchback, the government increased the one-off discharge grant given to prison leavers for the first time in 25 years – from £46 to £76.

This is a good start – but more action is needed to give people leaving prison a basic foundation to re-enter society and build stable lives. We’re calling for three urgent actions needed for prison leavers:

Guarantee accommodation on release

Our Trainees tell us that stable housing is the single most important factor for starting to build a stable life away from crime.

Provide basic smartphones when needed

A communications lifeline is vital to comply with license conditions and access essential services like benefits.

Add shopping vouchers and a travelcard to the new Subsistence Payment

Trainees tell us that without these lifelines, buying food or reaching key appointments in the week after release would be impossible.

Switchback’s work shows that when people are supported to get these basics sorted at release, they have a real chance to start building a stable life they can be proud of.

Join our campaign!


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    Watch former Switchback Trainee Patrick describe his experience of being released from prison homeless: