THE amount of money given to prisoners when they are released has been increased for the first time in a quarter of a century.

The prison discharge grant – handed to adult inmates who have served more 14 days of a jail sentence once they leave – will rise from £46 to £76.

The amount was last set in 1995 to match a single person’s weekly benefit payment at the time and has not changed since, but is no longer sufficient to cover the costs of essential goods and services prisoners need when they are freed.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of social justice charity Nacro – which supports released prisoners and was among those to campaign for the rise, said it was “long-awaited positive news” which will make a “significant difference to the chances of those leaving prison”.

He added: “Too often people come out of prison with nothing. If people are unable to afford the basics for a fresh start – food, toiletries, transport – we are setting them up to fail. This increase is a very welcome step towards giving people the best chance of a second chance.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the Government was working to get “more offenders back into employment, with education, training and skills programmes in prisons to reduce reoffending”, adding: “These payments will also help to support offenders with their immediate, essential travel, food and basic needs and have been increased for the first time in 25 years.”