Many will have nowhere to live and nowhere to go. In fact, 77% of women from the UK’s largest women’s prison faced homelessness on release in July 2021.   

Why is this so common, what happens as a result and what can be done to change this? 

Prison services don’t know if you have a safe home to go to on release 

Women tend to spend time in prison for less serious crimes. This means that their sentences are shorter, often lasting a few months or even weeks. Because of these short stays, there is less time available to carry out a full assessment of their housing needs. When this happens, women can leave prison with nowhere to go. 

A prison stay can mean an end your benefits 

If a woman has been receiving financial support from the Government, that could end when they go to prison. This means they can’t afford to pay bills and, when rent starts stacking up, they’re at risk of eviction. A stay in prison can lead to devastating housing insecurity. 

Escaping abuse can lead to homelessness 

Many women who face a stay in prison have experienced serious abuse and violence in their lives. These dangers are likely to be waiting for them when they are released. Stuck in a desperate situation, sometimes homelessness is the safest option.  

Being homeless is especially dangerous for women. Faced with this terrible situation and let down by support systems that should be there to help them, many women will go on to re-offend and become trapped in a cycle of homelessness and prison stays. 

It shouldn’t be this way and it doesn’t have to be. 

Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, to be seen and heard and feel safe from harm.  

Find out about how our Project Kali is helping women straight from prison and turning lives around.