The Salvation Army is calling on the government to get the basics right for people leaving prison. ‘This is a straightforward fix for the incoming government to address,’ says Ana Ika, Social Policy Analyst of The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit.
‘Too many people leaving prison face reintegrating into society without even the basics of daily life, like a bank account, personal identification and driver licence. People are then caught in a catch-22 situation, where acquiring the housing and income that they need depends on them having these things.
‘These issues need focused attention within the prison system to organise these basics of life for people ahead of their release.’
The report highlights prisoner debt levels, the insufficiencies of the Steps to Freedom grant and challenges around driver licences. Approximately 85 percent of entry-level jobs demand a valid driver licence, and employment plays a pivotal role in ensuring people find their feet again after coming out of prison.
Ensuring that people are supported to reintegrate back into society after being incarcerated is crucial for reducing reoffending and ensuring safer communities. ‘Many of the challenges in the justice system are complex and require long-term concerted solutions,’ says Ana. ‘However, providing individuals leaving prison with these fundamental and practical necessities is not a complex task; it’s a straightforward solution that can make a substantial difference for those leaving prison.’