Several respondents expressed concerns about some aspects of the proposal, particularly the potential impact on the successful resettlement of vulnerable prisoners and the impact on reoffending. The broader provisions on homelessness will provide much-improved help for prisoners before release to find them suitable accommodation.
I would like to emphasise that the needs of vulnerable former prisoners will continue to be met through the legislation, within the context of a more proactive approach to prevention.
Former prisoners will no longer receive priority treatment when it comes to being housed by local councils under changes announced by the Welsh Government.
Following a consultation on the changes, Housing Minister Carl Sargeant says those leaving prison will be assessed using the same criteria as any other vulnerable person wanting to be considered homeless.
Currently local authorities are obliged to treat them as a higher priority.
The changes will form part of a major Housing Bill to be published next week.
I am mindful that the subject of former prisoners having priority need status for housing has long been a controversial one. The needs of former prisoners are recognised but the current arrangements are widely perceived as being unfair in that they are given priority over many other vulnerable people irrespective of their personal circumstances.