Criminals are re-offending in order to get back into prison because it is “safer”, according to Gloucestershire’s police and crime commissioner.

Martin Surl said one offender, a woman, wanted to go back to prison because she was “in a community where she felt comfortable”.

Another woman, who was younger, offended “within days of her release” because she “felt safer in prison than at home”.

Mr Surl said there is a lack of accommodation for people released from prison and no one to integrate them back into society.

Currently, probation services support offenders to steer them away from re-offending, ensure offenders have somewhere to live and assess an offender’s financial problems.

Mr Surl however has previously said he is opposed to the service since it was partly privatised in 2015, claiming it is “broken”.

Mr Surl said: “A number of women I met during a recent visit to Eastwood Park women’s prison had similar experiences.

“A common denominator in these stories is the lack of accommodation for people released from prison.

“Women, as well as men, are often freed with little or no money in their pocket, no place to go and no one to welcome and integrate them back into society. The result is a need to go straight back.”

Mr Surl opened a conference yesterday (June 12) which is looking to enhance the re-homing process for offenders upon release from prison.