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Imaginary Homelessness Prevention with Prison Leavers in Wales

Madoc-Jones, I and Ahmed, A and Hughes, C and Dubberley, S and Gorden, C and Washington-Dyer, K and Lockwood, K and Wilding, M (2019) Imaginary Homelessness Prevention with Prison Leavers in Wales. Social Policy and Society, 19 (1). pp. 145-155. ISSN 1474-7464

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Abstract

© 2019 Cambridge University Press. In this article we engage in a critical examination of how local authority Housing Solutions staff, newly placed centre stage in preventing homelessness amongst prison leavers in Wales, understand and go about their work. Drawing on Carlen's concept of 'imaginary penalities' and Ugelvik's notion of 'legitimation work' we suggest practice with this group can be ritualistic and underpinned by a focus on prison leavers' responsibilities over their rights, and public protection over promoting resettlement. In response we advocate for less-punitive justice and housing policies, underpinned by the right to permanent housing for all prison leavers and wherein stable accommodation is understood as the starting point for resettlement. The analysis presented in this article provides insights to how homelessness policies could play out in jurisdictions where more joint working between housing and criminal justice agencies are being pursued and/or preventative approaches to managing homelessness are being considered.

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