Is there a need to support women coming out of prison?

In 2007 the Corston report made a number of recommendations. 10 years on the group Women in Prisons evaluated whether those recommendations had resulted in positive change. They used a traffic light system to denote whether progress had been made…or not. Here is an extract. The bold section is the original recommendation and the italics the response. This recommendation was marked red.

‘The accommodation pathway is the most in need of speedy, fundamental, gender-speci c reform and should be reviewed urgently, taking account of the comments in my report. In particular, more supported accommodation should be provided for women on release to break the cycle of repeat offending and custody and the intentional homelessness criterion for ex- prisoners should be abolished.

The housing situation for women leaving prison is even more desperate today than when the Corston report was published ten years ago. The Prison Reform Trust and Women in Prison briefing “Home truths: housing for women in the criminal justice system”, published in 2016, outlines how local councils gate-keep their limited housing supply. This situation is compounded by the fact that women are systematically deemed “intentionally homeless” for going to prison, the scarcity of supported accommodation places and the absence of joined-up thinking to manage the human trauma and reoffending risks caused by homelessness.’

The full report can be found at: http://www.womeninprison.org.uk/perch/resources/corston-report-10-years-on.pdf

Is there a need to support women coming out of prisons? The answer seems to be a resounding ‘yes’!

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