Prison Link Cymru
Prison Link Cymru was launched in January 2005 to provide preventative housing advice and support to prisoners whilst still in custody, looking at all the accommodation options available to them prior to release.
It is a national prison link service covering all Wales and is a joint initiative with Tai Trothwy. Shelter Cymru provides the service across the six North Wales authorities and North Powys, with Trothwy Cyf providing a service across the remainder of Wales. It is funded through the Welsh Assembly Government section 180 grants programme.
How does the project work?
We work closely with supported housing providers, private landlords, bond schemes, housing associations and local authorities across North Wales to do this, as well as prison resettlement teams, Transitional Support Services, Drug Intervention Programmes and Probation.
We seek to prevent homelessness for those prisoners on remand or short sentence who may have accommodation to return to, and to assist with any other housing problems clients may have – this could include claims for backdated housing benefit and making contact with current or former landlords to ensure problems from previous tenancies are dealt with and that current tenancies are ended properly where necessary, without prejudicing the chance of future re-housing.
The main prisons we operate in for North Wales are HMP Altcourse and Styal and HMYOI Stoke Heath. We also provide a “long arm” service to other prisons across the UK.
We aim to interview all prisoners, whilst in custody, who have a local connection to Wales and will be homeless upon release from prison.
We interview them and complete a PLC homeless referral form, which includes details of support needs, and is sent to the relevant Local Authority. This ensures they receive information on homeless prisoners due to be discharged to their area and helps them facilitate and be aware of the provision of appropriate housing and support on release.