Claims large number of Doncaster rough sleepers are 'released out of area prisoners' is dismissed

Very few people from outside of Doncaster go on to be rough sleepers after serving a stint in prison, a senior council officer has said.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 3:51 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 8:51 am
HMP Lindholme

Pat Hagan, head of localities and town centre, who is leading the council’s end on homelessness and rough sleeping, said the majority of people who sleep rough are local to Doncaster.

Previous anecdotal claims have been made that some criminals leaving any one of Doncaster’s prisons were being staying in the borough and ending up on the streets.

Norton & Askern Coun Iris Beech said she had been told a section of people were leaving prison with money to go home but stayed in Doncaster and spent the cash on other items.

But Mr Hagan said the issue was not large as some made out and preparations for prisoner release were made with agencies for this not to happen.

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Prisoners who serve time in Doncaster but live elsewhere are entitled to a travel grant to go back to the town or city they came from.

On the issue of released prisoners, Mr Hagan said: “We work closely with prisons and South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company and the national probation service to work with people before they are released.

“This is done so we can help the released person leave to a stable residence and we have a weekly meeting with other agencies like probation around planning for prisoner release.

“Because of the work probation and CRC are doing, we’re not seeing lots of people from other parts of the country being released and staying in Doncaster with nowhere to go.

“We do get some but the majority of people that we’re working with on the ground are from Doncaster.”