The founder of the Big Issue is calling for an end to Friday releases for prisoners, so they can access housing and health services.
Lord Bird will say during a debate in the House of Lords that the reoffending rate for adults released on a Friday is higher than for any other day of the week.
He will speak as the Offenders (Day of Release from Detention) Bill reaches a vital step towards being passed into Law.
He says that prisoners released on a Friday only have a few hours to secure a bed for the night, but a new law could see them free to go up to two days early, giving them time to get set up for a life on the outside.
With many essential support services, such as local authority housing, substance misuse support or mental health services closed at weekends and on bank holidays, those released on a Friday face an extra setback that could leave them homeless on their first night on the outside, he warns.
If passed, the Bill will allow an ex-offender’s release date to be brought forward by up to two days if it falls on a Friday or the day before a bank or public holiday.
“By removing the barriers that a Friday release can bring, we can ensure that custody-leavers have a better chance to access the support they need to reintegrate into the community so that victims and the public are protected,” Lord Bird is expected to say.
Around a third of all prisoners are released on a Friday, with the reoffending rate for adults released then higher than for any other day of the week, says Lord Bird.
He adds that people with convictions already face a host of barriers when seeking to rejoin society after time in prison, including prejudice from potential employers who can withdraw a job offer if the applicant has a criminal record.
Lord Bird believes many companies are starting to become more aware of the benefits of hiring a diverse workforce with a range of experiences and backgrounds.