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Prisoners Building Homes programme tackles reoffending and creates much-needed housing

Finding decent quality and affordable housing is a real challenge for many people these days. Another significant problem faced by society is reoffending, which not only costs the country £22billion a year, it also blights lives and creates more victims.

Prisoners Building Homes programme tackles reoffending and creates much-needed housing

Picture caption: The pilot home under construction in 2020

If I told you there was a project that could both reduce reoffending and create quality, low carbon, sustainable homes I am pretty sure you would support it.

Well, the Prisoners Building Homes Programme, which started life as a pilot project funded by me and working with Torbay Council just four years ago, is now attracting serious Government attention, is on track to deliver 82 homes this year and has the potential to deliver thousands more.

Through partnership with private sector companies and landowners such as councils and churches, prisoners and recent prison leavers learn skills and get paid for their labour, so on release they are employable and can provide for themselves and their families.

Last week I visited a site of six homes on the St Andrew’s estate in Cullompton, where partner Zedpods has been building homes and deployed ex offenders in the construction project which had been allocated to it under the Prisoners Building Homes scheme.

And a few weeks ago we had the privilege of inviting the Justice Secretary Alex Chalk KC to a site in Gloucestershire where prisoners were hard at work, and learning new skills, under the watchful eye of a private sector housebuilding partner.

Their self-worth and newfound abilities will give them a much better chance at success in life and mean they are less likely to return to crime.

Prisoners who can participate in this programme learn skills that will ultimately ensure that they can have hope, a sense of a future and a stake in society once again, and, of course, they are producing homes which go to those most in need in society. So this is a triple win, it is good for individuals, it is good for society and it is good for the supply of homes in our country.

Daniel was employed on his release after taking part in the programme and features in a video produced to support the expansion of the programme.

He said: “To come out of prison every day and earn honest money; to have a focus, something to do and a good purpose was a game-changer.”

Serving prisoner Luke said: “It’s made a huge difference, before we were locked up most of the day and it’s getting us out, making us use our minds a bit better, we’re building something constructive, it’s really lifted my mood, I feel better in myself - it’s definitely made a big difference to my mental health.”

Many people who are in prison may not have their own home to go to, may not have a job to go to and then often will fall into their old ways – I and fellow South West Police and Crime Commissioners are really keen to ensure that does not happen.

The award-winning programme is now seeking new sites where there is a desire to deliver affordable, quality, low carbon, sustainable homes which typically are allocated to those most in need of housing.

We are working with councils, the private sector and even churches who have land and who want to be part of this pioneering project.

So if you represent a housebuilder or landowner and are interested in getting involved in the project please email Prisoners Building Homes Programme Delivery Manager Sophie Baker at

Watch the homes under construction at: