Having been failed by the system in the most terrible way, victims of miscarriages of justice often face a second injustice when attempting to access housing.
The startling lack of statutory support available to victims can mean many who may need to apply as homeless and seek social housing see their application rejected. Some fail a local connection test owing to their time spent in HMP outside of the local area, or can be deemed to have caused their own homelessness (an interesting notion as their imprisonment was an error by the state), or reject the one offer they receive from the local authority because of particular issues relating to their circumstances and vulnerability.
Commonweal Housing has published a report detailing these problems.
The government can act to change this, publishing new guidance to encourage local councils to recognise miscarriage of justice victims as vulnerable and in priority need should they approach them as homeless.
We hope many of the Gazette’s readers will join us in calling on the government to do so.
Ashley Horsey, chief executive, Commonweal Housing