Going Straight Home? The role of stable housing in reducing reoffending amongst people leaving prison
Dr Alice Mills1, Ms Cinnamon Lindsay1, Ms Anika Terry1, Associate Professor Barry Milne1
1University Of Auckland
Every year around 7,500 people are released from New Zealand prisons, less than half of whom are able to settle into long-term accommodation on release. Housing is well known to be the ‘lynchpin that holds the reintegration process together’ (Bradley et al. 2001) and existing international research has suggested that stable housing is associated with reduced recidivism post-release. However, little is known about this relationship in New Zealand or the mechanisms by which stable housing can reduce recidivism and the potential role of confounding factors such as employment in this process. This paper will draw upon the mixed methods ‘Going Straight Home?’ study which involves longitudinal quantitative data analysis from interviews with 200 people prior to release from prison and 6- and 12-months post-release, and narrative interviews with 15 people 18-months post-release. It will examine whether having stable housing does reduce recidivism amongst people who have left prison in Aotearoa New Zealand and how and why stable housing can play a role in desistance from crime.
Dr Alice Mills is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Auckland. Her research interests include post-prison housing, prisoner reintegration, the role of community and voluntary organisations in criminal justice, specialist courts and mental health in prisons. She is currently leading a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden-funded study on the role of stable housing in reducing reoffending amongst those who have left prison.