Prisoners should not be released on Fridays to stop them ‘lapsing back into crime over weekends’

Prisoners should not be released from jail on Fridays as Government advisors warn they are more likely to lapse back into crime and drug taking because help centres are closed over weekends

  • Government advisors warn jails not to release prisoners on a Friday any more
  • New figures show that inmates are more likely to re-offend over the weekend 
  • A third of offenders are let out on Fridays even though rehab centres are closed
  • Therefore prisoners more likely to relapse to crime and drug taking, report found

Prisons should stop releasing inmates on Fridays in case they slide back into crime or drug taking over the weekend, say government advisers.

Currently a third of offenders are let out on this day of the week even though drug addiction centres and housing services are closed over the weekend.

This means they are much more likely to relapse into crime and drug taking, and are more at risk of dying, according to a report by the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

Their recommendations are contained in a report in how to reduce drug misuse among offenders who are released.

The committee found that 11,080 prisoners – just over a third of the total – were freed on a Friday in England and Wales between January and June last year.

This was more than any other day of the week because offenders due to be released on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays will always be let out on a Friday.

The entrance to category C prison, HMP Verne at Portland in Dorset. A report found a third of offenders are let out on Fridays even though drug addiction centres and housing services are closed over the weekend

Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, chairman of the ACMD, said: ‘This report identifies the substantial harms suffered by those with drug dependency as they transition between custody and the community. 

‘It is paramount that the Government does more to help prevent vulnerable people from relapsing after their release from prison.’

The report also found that in the 2017-2018 year, 35 per cent of prisoners in England released on any day of the week were freed without settled accommodation.

Of those who were addicted to drugs, only 32 per cent entered community treatment centres.

The recommendations echo a warning by the social justice charity Nacro last year that Friday releases were a ‘race against the clock’. 

It pointed out that housing services often closed early on a Friday, leaving offenders sleeping rough. 

The ACMD also urged ministers to minimise the use of prison sentences of less than 12 months, on the assumption that they do not reduce reoffending.

Justice Secretary David Gauke is due to unveil firm plans on the abolition of short sentences within weeks.