Michael has been in and out of prison a dozen times. He often felt he was better off just staying on the inside.
“We need more help for people getting out of prison, because now there’s nothing. They promise you the world, then you’re out the front gate and it’s like ‘Michael who?’,” he told ten daily.
“Sometimes I’ve been sitting in a cell in the police station and thinking ‘I’m glad I’m here’.”
Michael, from Melbourne, usually found himself homeless or couch surfing soon after leaving prison.
Prisoners are often released with a small amount of money, usually a percentage of the cash they earned while working in prison.
“One time I came out with $800. With that, I’ve got to find accommodation, buy new clothes, food. Show me you can do that with $800,” he said.
Michael’s case is an illustration of a ballooning problem in Victoria, where the number of prisoners leaving jail and becoming homeless nearly tripled between 2011-12 and 2016-17.
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