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People with disability transitioning from prison and their pathways into homelessness

  • Research program
Publication date

People with disability transitioning from prison and their pathway into homelessness – Research Report

The Disability Royal Commission has published a research report prepared by Western Sydney University. The report looks at why and how people with disability leaving prison become homeless.

This video is a summary of that report. You can find the full report on our website.


A lot of people in prison have disability.

Being in prison can lead to a greater chance of becoming homeless because of:

  • problems finding housing or a job when leaving prison

  • changes to relationships with family or friends.

Being homeless can increase contact with the police and ending up in prison. These challenges are even harder for people with disability.

This research tried to understand:

  • Why do young people and adults with disability become homeless when they leave prison?

  • What are governments doing to help prevent this? Which policies or programs are working well?

Researchers gathered information by looking at over 1,000 studies. They also looked at policies of justice and corrective services departments in different states and territories.

What did the report find?

This report found very little evidence or policies that help us understand or respond to these issues.

Not many studies look at what contributes to people with disability becoming homeless after leaving prison or what helps prevent this.

Not many studies look at programs designed to prevent people with disability becoming homeless when leaving prison and how effective these programs are.

The report says that we need to know much more about people with disability involved in the criminal justice system and these issues. We also need to know about different groups of people such as First Nations people, young people, and women with disability.

What did the report recommend find?

  • There should be nationally consistent policies and guidelines to support people with disability leaving prison.

  • Monitoring and reporting on outcomes for people with disability needs improving to help measure progress. Program evaluations should be nationally coordinated to see what is working well.

  • People with disability in prison should be properly identified. Young people in particular should get help to report what support they need, so they can access the right services when they leave.

  • Services to support people leaving prison – like housing, health,education, income support and employment services – should work together better to improve outcomes for people and prevent homelessness. These services need to be inclusive of people with disability.

  • There should be more investment in social housing to make sure it is accessible for everyone.

More information

To read the full report, visit our website. Go to the ‘Publications’ section and click on ‘Research program’.