That’s according to a new report from The Independent Monitoring Board published today.
It says 67% of inmates at the UK’s largest women’s prison surveyed were being released to “unsustainable accommodation.”
The report goes on to say that this has been “a serious concern for a number of years.”
The Ministry of Justice has been approached for comment.
From Bronzefield Women’s Prison:
For women leaving HMP/YOI Bronzefield, the lack of safe and sustainable accommodation post release has been a serious concern for a number of years. The transition from imprisonment to normal life already poses a significant challenge for many women, a lack of housing options not only puts these women at risk of homelessness, but also raises concerns about their well-being and future prospects.
In its 2022-23 annual report, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) at HMP/YOI Bronzefield notes that:
67% of prisoners surveyed were being released to unsustainable accommodation.
The shortage of Probation Service staff within the prison continues to hamper the effective management of high-risk prisoners, with only three out of 10 probation roles filled as of July 2023.
The continued use of the prison healthcare in-patient facility to house those awaiting transfer to secure psychiatric hospitals, as well as others for whom prison is being used as a ‘place of safety’, imposes a significant strain on capacity in the healthcare facility.
However, the Board were pleased to report that:
The introduction of a new employment hub in the prison is a welcome additional service providing assistance to prisoners during the last 12 weeks of their sentence with ID, banking and employment opportunities.
The Chair of IMB Bronzefield said:
“The continued lack of safe and sustainable accommodation post-release for Bronzefield’s prisoners, which is fundamental to providing a stable platform from which they can rebuild their lives, remains a significant concern. Although the new employment hub has helped to provide women with the skills and tools needed to secure and sustain employment, it is both of these resources that are needed to break the cycle of reoffending.”