A report published today by the Prison Reform Trust and Women in Prison found that six out of ten women released from prison in the UK do not have homes to go to, while roughly one-third of women lose their homes upon entering prison. 'Home Truths: Housing for Women in the Criminal Justice System' highlights the link between a lack of suitable accomodation for female offenders and recidivism, and illustrates that the failure to provide suitable accomodation presents a costly gap in the system resulting in 'more crime, more victims and more costly and unnecessary imprisonment'.
A lack of suitable, stable accomodation makes the transition from prison to liberty upon release even more challenging for these very vulnerable women, making it even harder to access employment, training, access support services, re-connect with their families and integrate successfully into the community.
The report criticised the lack of clarity and consistency with regards to the responsibility for providing suitable accomodation for female offenders, and was highly critical of the existing availability of suitable accomodation. The report was similarly critical of the restrictions red tape placed on female offenders accessing accomodation, in that women lost contact with their local authorities and community upon entering prison, often a precondition for local authority housing.