Letting prisoners out early might seem like a surprising idea. But thanks to the way Christmas falls this year, any inmates with release dates between Friday 22 December and Boxing Day on Tuesday 26 December will be released on Wednesday 20 December.
What you might not know is this reduces reoffending and the risk to victims – instead of putting prisoners out on the streets when support services are closed.
It’s something the Big Issue has campaigned on, with our founder John Bird using his seat in the House of Lords to change the law this year.
“It’s well established that making sure ex-offenders are set up with the support they need on release is critical when it comes to preventing re-offending – it’s why I sponsored legislation in parliament to end Friday releases,” said Bird.
The government is meeting a pre-existing legal requirement that means prisoners are let out early if their release date falls on a weekend or bank holiday, like Christmas Day – but that hasn’t stopped a tabloid frenzy.
“FIENDS’ EARLY RELEASE” raged The Sun, warning those serving sentences for violent and sexual offences will be freed up to six days early.