Today, the Offenders (Day of Release) Bill received royal assent to become law, now allowing people scheduled for prison release on a Friday or the day before a bank holiday to be released slightly early.
In response, Pavan Dhaliwal, Chief Executive of Revolving Doors said,
“This is a small victory that holds immense meaning for individuals transitioning into the community from custody. Friday and bank holiday releases set people up to fail, leaving them with a multitude of appointments to attend before the weekend shutdown, such as with their probation officer, housing services, the GP or drug and alcohol services. This impossible race against time has had devastating consequences for some of our members and others with lived experience of prison, including homelessness, going without necessary medication over the weekend, or even recall to prison.
“While we acknowledge the significance of this achievement, we remain steadfast in calling for the eradication of short sentences which are both more expensive and less effective than community sentences. Until this change happens, it is imperative that every person, regardless of their release date, is afforded the opportunity to turn their lives around through comprehensive, thorough and timely resettlement support.”
Jeanette, who has lived experience of the revolving door of crisis and crime, said,
“The problem with being released on a Friday is that if something goes wrong, or if there are any delays, you can be set up to fail straight away. A few years ago, I was released into the community on a Friday, but because of admin and other delays, I didn’t actually manage to get out until after 5 pm – after all the services I needed had shut for the weekend. I had no home, no prescription, so I spent that weekend scared and homeless, sofa-surfing with friends.
“I’ve asked myself since, ‘Should I have just stayed in prison until Monday? Would it have been easier? Yes, it would have.’ That weekend was long and tough, I was determined to survive, so I did, but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I hope that this law change will help make sure that no one else has the experience I did – everyone deserves a chance at getting back on track.”
Notes to the editor
Revolving Doors is a national charity working to break the cycle of crisis and crime. We advocate for a system that addresses the drivers of contact with the criminal justice system, including trauma, poverty and discrimination. We bring independent research, policy expertise and lived experience together to champion long-term solutions for justice reform.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please email email@example.com. For out of hours queries or to speak to someone on the phone, please contact Pavan Dhaliwal at firstname.lastname@example.org.