AN inquiry examining some of the country’s highest prisoner reoffending rates has heard inmates are being given tents on their release because they have nowhere to live.

Members of North Yorkshire County Council partnerships scrutiny committee said they were stunned by the disclosure and also by the revelation that drug addict prisoners are routinely given additional amounts of drugs before their release in a process dubbed “retox”.

The action to acclimatise addicts was launched, the meeting heard, followed the deaths of ex-inmates in the Leeds area, shortly after their release, but was highly unlikely to help cut the likelihood of prisoners reoffending.

The committee’s chairman Councillor Derek Bastiman said following visits to prisons in North and West Yorkshire to study release arrangements, he had concluded the Government needed to take urgent action to tackle reoffending rates.

He said one inmate had told the committee how he had been homeless on the first night after being released from Kirklevington Prison. The prisoner revealed how almost all of the £47.50 he was given on release from had been spent within hours on bus fares to Richmond and Darlington.

Cllr Bastiman said: “We’ve learnt that prisoners are even being given tents to live in. They need bricks and mortar and a solid roof to live under. They have served their time and we should look after them when they come out.

“We were even told people who were drug dependent were given higher doses of drugs before they were released. It’s a complete nonsense.”

Latest Government figures, which were published in October, show that 52 per cent of prisoners in the Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company area reoffend, a figure second only to the Durham Tees Valley area.

By contrast, in Greater Manchester only 41 per cent of the same October to December 2016 cohort of released prisoners reoffended.

Martin Weblin, of the Community Rehabilitation Company, told the meeting released prisoners were “not getting adequately housed necessarily, but they are going somewhere”.

He added: “We do have people who leave custody and have nowhere to live. In offices we still... staff are still informally giving people tents. So if you get to the end of the road and can’t find somewhere... it still is happening.”

Numerous councillors immediately responded by expressing their disbelief and questioned what the released prisoners were supposed to do with the tent. Mr Weblin replied: “Live in it. They find somewhere to hide out and put their tent up.”