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A Drop in the Ocean? The Discharge Grant and the Immediate Needs of Prisoners on Release from Custody

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Many prisoners leaving custody are homeless, jobless and poor. They are given a discharge grant by the Home Office to meet their immediate needs on release. For many, it is their only source of income until they find a job or, more commonly, receive their first benefit cheque. This paper reviews the immediate needs of prisoners on release from custody and then examines how far the discharge grant is adequate in meeting these needs. In-depth interviews were conducted with prisoners both before and after release from custody. These included ten men in prison who were within two or three weeks of release and 14 men who had been released from prison within the previous month. Interviews suggested that the grant lasted only a few days, leaving ex-prisoners with very little to cover even basic needs in the two weeks before they were entitled to receive any income support.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Derby, 2: Policy Studies Institute

Publication date: 1997-08-01

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