This participatory health research project of researchers and women prisoners examined housing and homelessness as perceived by incarcerated women to understand this public health concern and help guide policy. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
A participatory research team designed and conducted a survey of 83 incarcerated women in BC, Canada. Using descriptive statistics, the authors examined socio-demographic factors related to social support networks and family housing and women’s housing preference upon release.
In total, 44 percent of participants reported no family home upon release while 31 percent reported lost family ties due to their incarceration. Most vulnerable subpopulations were women aged 25-34, aboriginal women and those with multiple incarcerations. Housing preferences differed between participants suggesting needs for varied options. Further implementation, evaluation and appraisal of social programs are required.
This study surveyed one correctional facility: future research could utilize multiple centers.
Addressing housing instability among released incarcerated individuals is important fiscally and from a public health lens. Improved discharge planning and housing stability is needed through policy changes and social programs. A social support network, “Women in2 Healing,” has developed from the research group to address these issues.
Housing stability and recidivism are closely linked: providing stable housing options will lessen the social, fiscal and medical burden of individuals returning to crime, substance abuse, illness and poverty.
Housing instability addresses an important social determinant of health and focussing on incarcerated women builds upon a small body of literature.
Harris, J., Martin, R., Filek, H., Macaulay, A., Buxton, J., Buchanan, M., Korchinski, M., Moravan, V. and Ramsden, V. (2015), "Familial support impacts incarcerated women ' s housing stability", Housing, Care and Support, Vol. 18 No. 3/4, pp. 80-88. https://doi.org/10.1108/HCS-05-2014-0012Download as .RIS
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