Tuesday, 14 June 2022
Department of Justice and Equality
1362. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners who were released from prison to emergency homeless accommodation or no pre-arranged accommodation in each month in 2020, 2021 and to date in 2022, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30593/22]
1363. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of prisoners who were categorised as homeless committed on remand and under sentence in each month in 2020, 2021 and to date in 2022, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30594/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1362 and 1363 together.
As the Deputy will appreciate, measures to address homelessness and the provision of accommodation to persons vulnerable to homelessness are the responsibility of the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.
I am advised that Local Authorities maintain statistics regarding people accessing homeless services on the “PASS” system. The Irish Prison Service does not have access to this information.
The Prison Service does maintain regular contact with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Local Authorities regarding the release of prisoners who have identified themselves to prison services as homeless or at risk of homelessness. The objective of the Service is that all releases are planned in order to support offenders to make informed and effective transitions from prison to the community.
I am advised that, when a sentenced prisoner informs prison authorities that they were homeless prior to coming into custody, or that they are at risk of homelessness on release, they are referred to the prison-based resettlement service. The Resettlement Service works with the prisoner and the relevant Local Authority to complete their social housing application and identify possible accommodation solutions in preparation for their release and reintegration to the community.
I am also advised that the Irish Prison Service does not record statistics in the specific format requested by the Deputy. However, statistics are available from 2020 to date, broken down by Local Authority and these are provided in the tables below. Table 1 provides details of the number of committals where the person declared that they were of ‘no fixed abode’ or ‘address not stated’ at the point of committal.
Table 1. Number of prisoners who declared homeless status on committal to prison
The table below sets out the number of committals who cited ‘No Fixed Abode’ or ‘Address Not Stated’ on committal to prison. An individual can be committed on more than one occasion in a given year, for example, committed on a remand warrant in January and again on a sentence warrant in July.
|Year 2020||Year 2021||Year 2022 (up to and including 31 May 2022)|
Total Committals in Year 2020 = 6,340
Total Committals in Year 2021 = 6,133
Total Committals in Year 2022 (up to and including 31 May) = 3,085*.
*numbers may be subject to change pending the publication of the Annual Report 2022.
Tables 2.1 to 2.3 provide details of the number of sentenced prisoners who engaged with the resettlement service prior to their release, completed an application for social housing and who were released from prison to attend public housing appointments for emergency homeless accommodation.The Prison Service advise that the application for social housing can be submitted months or days in advance of the release date dependent on the timing of the prisoner’s voluntary declaration of homelessness, which influences opportunities for response.
These tables do not include prisoners on remand, or prisoners who did not declare their homeless status to prison authorities prior to release, or prisoners who choose not to avail of the assistance of the resettlement service, as this information is not available.
2. Tables of sentenced prisoners who applied to the Resettlement Service for social housing in advance of release and who presented for emergency homeless service provision on the day of release.
2.1 - 18 March 2020 to 31 December 2020
|Local Authority||Total sentenced prisoners who applied via Resettlement Service for social housing in advance of release and who presented for emergency homeless service provision on day of release - 18/03/2020 and 31/12/2020|
|Limerick City & County||12|
|Waterford City & County||10|
|Total number of people released*||5,753|
*people can be released more than once in a year.
Table 2.2 - 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
|Local Authority||Total sentenced prisoners who applied via Resettlement Service for social housing in advance of release and who presented for emergency homeless service provision on day of release - 01/01/2021 and 31/12/2021|
|Limerick City & County||24|
|Waterford City & County||5|
|Total people released*||5289|
Table 2.3 - 1 January 2022 to 8 June 2022
|Local Authority||Total sentenced prisoners who applied via Resettlement Service for social housing in advance of release and who presented for emergency homeless service provision on day of release - 01/01/2022 and 08/06/2022|
|Limerick City & County||7|
|Waterford City & County||2|
|Total people released to end May 2022*||2480|
Table 3 provides details of sentenced prisoners who engaged with the resettlement service where a bed placement was identified by the Local Authority in advance of the release date.
Table 3- Total number of sentenced prisoners who applied via Resettlement Service for social housing in advance of release and had bed placement identified by Local Authority in advance of release date – 18 March 2020 to 3 June 2022
|Local Authority||Total sentenced prisoners who applied via Resettlement Service for social housing in advance of release and had bed placement identified by Local Authority in advance of release date – 18 March 2020 to 3 June 2022|