Women's resttlement

Our pioneering Journeys to Freedom project is helping women in London and the South to resettle in the community after their release from prison.
Women's Resettlement

'Excellent' outcomes for women leaving prison

Pact’s pioneering initiative Journeys to Freedom supports women leaving prison both immediately before release and for up to three months following their release. A recent evaluation of the service has revealed ‘excellent’ outcomes in supporting women leaving prison to successfully reintegrate into the community and reduce their likelihood of reoffending. 

Why is this needed? 

Women often face a very different set of challenges to male prisoners, complicated by dependent children and histories of abuse, trauma and/or substance misuse. More than half of those leaving prison are reconvicted within one year, a figure that rises to 73% for sentences of less than 12 months. Appropriate accommodation is a particular concern and can have a significant impact on women’s mental health, ability to care for their children, and employment prospects. 

Journeys To Freedom Video

How does the service work?

Journeys to Freedom offers holistic, person-centred support for women leaving four prisons in London and the South East: HMP Send, HMP Downview, HMP Bronzefield and HMP East Sutton Park.

The programme supports vulnerable women to navigate the transition from prison to the community in three stages: prior to their release, through the gate on the day of release, and in the community.

In prison

Pre-release, service users can access one-to-one Pact interventions designed to cover some of the challenges and issues they may face in returning home and to the community. With the help of their keyworker, they will also create a personal action plan to guide their resettlement journey and thereby reduce the likelihood of being recalled to prison.

Through the gate and in the community

On release, participating women are met and supported by their Pact keyworker and, over the following weeks, receive as little or as much support as they need to:

  • Attend key meetings (such as probation, drug or alcohol, or medical)
  • Find and secure appropriate accommodation
  • Set up benefits and manage finances
  • Find suitable employment, training, or education opportunities
  • Improve relationships with family members and build a positive support network

They will also receive a ‘release pack’ that includes key items such as PPE, toiletries, and a mobile phone (essential for communication with family members and service providers).

Welfare grants

As part of their journey, the women can access Pact welfare grants, which can be used to fund essential items such as bedding, furniture, and white goods. They can also take advantage of comprehensive online training and support to increase confidence and build the knowledge and skills needed to find employment or access further education/training.

Get in touch

For more information about this programme, or to discuss a referral, please contact Pact on 020 7735 9535 or email info@prisonadvice.org.uk.

The Journeys to Freedom programme is jointly funded by London Housing Foundation, Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust, and City Bridge Trust.

I left prison with no accommodation and was very anxious about everything. But with my key worker’s help, I got accommodation with my son. I feel a hundred times better because I have my own space, I have my few belongings in one place, and I have my son with me. I just feel me again.

Karen - Service User