Two women leaving HMP Bronzefield were given tents while sleeping bags had also been handed out amid a shortage in available housing
The revelation that women leaving a west London prison were given tents instead of housing has been described as “staggering” by Government ministers and raised alarm among housing charity groups.
A prison watchdog revealed sleeping bags had also been handed out to a number of ex-offenders from HMP Bronzefield amid a shortage of available housing.
Shadow Prisons Minister Jo Stevens said in response to the report: “It is absolutely staggering that women seem to have been released from prison with nothing more than a tent or a sleeping bag.
”This is astonishing and a far cry from the safe and secure accommodation needed to assist them in the rehabilitation process.“
Housing charity Women in Prison said the report, which was undertaken following an unannounced inspection, was “concerning” but “sadly not surprising” in the current housing climate.
A spokesperson from Women in Prison said: “The fact that Bronzefield is resorting to issuing tents to women leaving prison with nowhere to live does not highlight a problem evident within that one prison.
“Instead it is a reflection of how chronic the housing crisis has become and it urgently must bring awareness to the staggering high numbers of women that are leaving prison homeless across the women’s estate and the devastating impact this then has on those women and our communities.”
The number of women who left Bronzefield prison with settled accommodation in place had dropped from 95.5 per cent in 2014 to just 83.7 per cent in 2015, according to the report from HM Inspectorate of Prisons.
It was also noted that in the six-month period leading up to the inspection, 103 women had been released with no fixed address to go to.