Money found to continue services for West Sussex ex-offenders

Lewes Prison SUS-181005-092328008
Lewes Prison SUS-181005-092328008

West Sussex councils, police and the Probation Service have teamed up to ensure high-risk offenders get the help they need when released from prison.

There were huge concerns when the council cut £4m from its £6.3m housing related support budget, with no money available to pay for offender services from 2020/21.

Those services included Change, Grow, Live, housing-based support which helped to monitor and manage the men and women who were being released.

Fears were raised that, if the service was lost, former prisoners would opt to re-offend and return to prison rather than face sleeping on the streets.

At a meeting of the full council on Friday (July 17), Amanda Jupp, cabinet member for adults and health, announced that every district and borough council in West Sussex, along with the county council, Sussex Police, the Police & Crime Commissioner and the Probation Services had come together to pay for the service.

Around 100 violent and sex offenders are released into the county each year and, in 2018/19, £283,000 was put towards the housing-based support.

Mrs Jupp said: “That is a great step forward in my opinion. I believe that partnership is very powerful – and we could no longer go on providing this money ourselves. We have to work in partnership.

“So I’m delighted that we have done that.”

A county council spokesman said the funding was only and interim arrangement and would last until at least October 2020.