Man who left prison and became homeless calls for more to be done to help ex-offenders

Jamie Jones went to jail for eight weeks earlier this year. He had been renting a flat but when he left prison, he had been evicted for not paying the rent and found himself homeless.

It's a familiar story to many people leaving institutions in Wales.

Homelessness charity The Wallich says people are increasingly leaving prison without sufficient support to stop them ending up on the streets upon release.

The charity says Wales has a growing problem of people leaving prison with no accommodation on the outside.

Jamie Jones left prison earlier this year. Credit: ITV News

Evidence given to a recent UK Government select-committee on Welsh prisons said some ex-offenders were being given tents to live in on release from HMP Swansea.

The St Giles Trust submitted evidence that housing was the most pressing issue facing prisoners on release as local authorities were unable to deal with the increased flow of applications to be processed within 56 days.

The Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University say the percentage of people entering prison without a fixed abode - or homeless - increased from 24.3% in 2017, to 27.6% in 2018.

HMP Swansea Credit: ITV News

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) says it is not standard practice or policy to give out tents to offenders on release and added they work closely with local authorities to identify offenders who are at risk of sleeping rough.

They've also launched a £6 million scheme that will help prison leavers stay off the streets and away from crime.

Jamie Jones has now managed to get himself back on his feet, with a privately rented shared flat.

However, he says his time in prison has made it harder for him to secure accommodation.

The Welsh Government says it is "working to ensure that people leaving prison are able to secure suitable and safe housing and recognise the need to intervene at the earliest opportunity when prison leavers are at risk of becoming homeless.”

Credit: Yui Mok/PA

The Wallich feels the length of sentences handed out do not allow for rehabilitation inside or outside of prison.

Jamie is now determined to turn his negative experience into a positive.

Credit: ITV News