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Imaginary homelessness prevention with prison leavers in Wales

Madoc-Jones, I; Ahmed, A; Hughes, C; Dubberley, S; Gorden, C; Washington-Dyer, K; Wilding, MA; Lockwood, KA

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I Madoc-Jones

A Ahmed

C Hughes

S Dubberley

C Gorden

K Washington-Dyer

MA Wilding


Despite a move towards more preventative practices, we have reported that policy objectives to help prison leavers find accommodation on release in Wales have not translated into improved outcomes for this group. In this article we engage in a critical examination of why this might be and how local authority Housing Solutions staff in Wales, newly placed centre stage in the process, go about preventing homelessness amongst prison leavers. Drawing on Carlen’s concept of ‘imaginary penalities’, we suggest that practice with this group is performed only ritualistically. Drawing on Ugelvik’s notion of ‘legitimation work’ we suggest this state of affairs is legitimised by focusing on prison leavers’ responsibility for their homelessness over their rights to housing, 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 and wherein stable accommodation is understood as the starting point for resettlement for prison leavers. 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.


Madoc-Jones, I., Ahmed, A., Hughes, C., Dubberley, S., Gorden, C., Washington-Dyer, K., …Lockwood, K. (2020). Imaginary homelessness prevention with prison leavers in Wales. Social Policy and Society, 19(1), 145-155.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 26, 2019
Online Publication Date Nov 7, 2019
Publication Date Jan 1, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 19, 2019
Publicly Available Date Aug 19, 2019
Journal Social Policy and Society
Print ISSN 1474-7464
Electronic ISSN 1475-3073
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Volume 19
Issue 1
Pages 145-155
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Projects : Evaluation of Homelessness Services to Adults in the Secure Estate (Wales)


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