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Prisoners' Discharge Grants

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was spent on discharge grant in each of the last five years. (268823)

The amount of expenditure recorded as discharge grant in each year for the last five years is given as follows.

£000

2007-08

4,407

2006-07

3,509

2005-06

3,737

2004-05

4,154

2003-04

4,270

In 2007-08 End of Custody Licence was introduced and some expenditure on subsistence payments made to prisoners on discharge has been included in the recorded expenditure for discharge grants. It would incur disproportionate costs to separate this amount as we would need to survey all prison establishments.

The purpose of the Discharge Grant is to enable the prisoner to meet their immediate subsistence needs in the first week after release. Whether they are going straight into employment or applying for benefits, they will receive payment in arrears. Without a discharge grant, therefore, there would be an increased risk that prisoners would re-offend in order to meet their immediate financial needs.

Sentenced prisoners are eligible on release for a Discharge Grant of £46 unless certain exclusions apply. These exclusions include, for example: those serving a sentence of 14 days or less; those awaiting deportation or removal from the United Kingdom; those who are known to have in excess of £8,000 in savings (and would therefore be ineligible for income support under the relevant regulations).