EX-OFFENDERS SERVICE


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.