Crusading lawyer Debbie Kilroy from Sisters Inside says it’s “horrific” a woman on bail had to ask a Queensland court to send her back to jail, after she couldn’t find suitable housing.
The housing crisis was laid bare in Toowoomba when 34-year-old mother Debbie Jane Richards asked the Supreme Court last week to revoke her bail and send her to prison as she could not find suitable housing.
Ms Richards had been on bail while the charge of being an accessory after the fact to murder went through the courts.
“Prison has become the default response for homelessness and that’s the reality,” lawyer and Sisters Inside chief executive Debbie Kilroy said.
Professor Dennison said she suspected the issue was greater for women going through the criminal justice system than men.
“About a third of women coming into prison have been homeless in the year prior to going into prison and about a third expect those conditions to continue when they’re released from prison.
“They will also be more likely to have experienced domestic and family violence, have mental health problems and have a whole range … of needs that they need to address when they come back out into the community.”