Vulnerable UK women choosing prison over life on the outside

Charities working with women released from prison say that some are breaching their parole conditions or committing further crimes so that they will be returned to jail – because their lives on the outside are so bleak. Many of the women seek a return to prison because they have nowhere to live, fear an abusive partner or have unmet mental health needs.

The trend – which is particularly notable around Christmas – highlights what campaigners say is a chronic lack of concern for the women’s welfare upon release.

“Christmas is a really difficult time if they haven’t got family,” said Joy Doal, who runs the Anawim project in Birmingham, which helps 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.”

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