Marsh House, part of ROC Solid, has been held up as an example of national good practice in a top-level report aimed at improving outcomes for women leaving prison.
The report calls for a raft of improvements, including a national cross government strategy to address the housing needs of all prisoners, and specific measures for women.
The Prison Reform Trust, London Prison Mission and St Martin in the Fields, a large church in London that works with ex-offenders, produced it.
It has been presented to government ministers and other relevant organisations and its executive summary states: “Nearly six out of ten women leaving prison have nowhere to go. Many women are released with just £46, a plastic bag, nowhere to live and threat of recall if they miss their probation appointment. In so many ways the consequences are catastrophic for the women concerned, their families and for society.”
ROC Solid/Marsh House was cited as one of 15 national examples of good practice nationwide. The women-only house, staffed 24/7, has seven studio rooms and communal dining, living and cooking areas.
The report cites “a positive, safe environment for women over the age of 18 at risk of sexual exploitation.”
It also says: “All women have individual support plans and staff help women engage with legal, medical, social and housing professionals as well as linking them up with local agencies and charities, such as specialist recovery programmes and literacy and computer skills.”
We have some great examples of women who have got their lives back on the right track. Some have had their children returned to them from the care system and now live in nearby ROC Solid houses, with ongoing support. One now works within a local prison helping female offenders.
Marsh House can be a challenging environment to work in so hats off to ROC Solid general manager Mandy Shaw, senior support worker Lesley Bates and the team!