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(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)


Why some female prisoners in the U.K. are choosing jail over freedom

By WITW Staff on December 30, 2016

Charities that work with women released from prison in the U.K. are reporting that some have begun deliberately breaching parole conditions or committing crimes in order to return to jail – a trend that has apparently spiked around Christmas. Many of these women, activists say, are seeking to escape homelessness, abusive partners, or to receive help for mental health issues.

“Christmas is a really difficult time if they haven’t got family,” explained Joy Doal, leader of Anawim, a Women’s Center in Birmingham that provides support to female prisoners. “Many have come from care and have been in and out of prison. For some, prison is a place where they will feel safe. They get three meals and a bed for the night.”

According to a report published by the HM Inspectorate of Probation earlier this year, funding for women’s services in the U.K. have faced drastic cuts under the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation program. Since the introduction of the program in 2014, the number of women recalled to custody since being granted their release has increased by more than 80 percent.

Claire Cain, policy and campaigns manager at Women in Prison, believes that the desperate situations many women face outside of prison is driving them toward the relative safety of a prison cell.

“Homelessness is one of the biggest contributing factors behind why many women are in prison,” explained Cain. “Around 60 percent of women leave prison homeless and it is a near impossibility out there to find even safe temporary accommodation.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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