Women offenders face a lot of discrimination, particularly when it
comes to resettling in the community after serving a sentence in prison.
Many of the prisoners and ex-offenders seen by Women's Link have drug
problems, poor education, come from disadvantaged backgrounds, are
care leavers, or lone parents, young people and have suffered abuse
or domestic violence. With the disadvantage of a criminal record many
women find the transition from prison to rebuilding their lives in
society very problematic, and they need support in the community to
do this successfully.
Securing safe, affordable, and supportive accommodation for ex-offenders
is vital in ensuring that ex-offenders do not re-offend. Women's
Link refer ex-offenders to housing projects that offer assistance
and support on a number of issues like budgeting, anger management,
life skills, education and training advice, emotional support, networking,
self esteem, addressing their offending behaviour, and planning
for the future. We also refer ex-offenders to specialist drug and
alcohol projects. Most of the housing projects that clients are
referred to provide follow up support to the women in their homes
once they are re-settled.
Women's Link conducts external Housing surgeries at a bail hostel.
We offer advice, support and advocacy on a broad range of housing
issues. This includes dealing with rent arrears, housing benefit
problems and preventing women from being evicted from their home
while serving a sentence. We also refer women to housing schemes,
short stay and emergency hostels, and specialist drug and alcohol
projects. Women's Link acts as a major referral agent to many of
the specialist ex-offender housing projects. We also take referrals
from women in prison, and prison staff from prisons across England,
Probation offices, and a wide variety of voluntary and statutory
agencies working with ex-offenders.
Our booklet, entitled "Accommodation Guide for Women in Prison
and Ex Offenders", is aimed at women in prison or those who
have just left. It is an easy to read handbook which will enable
women to start accessing housing and making informed decisions about
their future housing. To order your copy select either the Individual
or Organisation Pamphlet Order
option from the Publications page.