Every year, many people are deported back to the UK at the end of their sentence – often they have lived abroad for a number of years, sometimes decades, and arrive with nothing; no money, nowhere to sleep and very often no family or friends to call on for help. Our caseworkers support prisoners during their incarceration, and then prepare them for their return to the UK when they are approaching release. We send information to help them prepare and a needs questionnaire is sent. Then our resettlement officers work closely with each person who needs our support once they have returned to the UK.

Nikol left England in 1977 when she was just 5 years old and moved to the US. Nikol got married and had a very bad marriage, she suffered from domestic violence and drug abuse. It got so bad and she was so dependent and bullied that she felt her only option was to live that life with that man. Nikol was then caught committing fraud by using a fake cheque. She says now that prison physically saved her but mentally destroyed her at the same time.

Over the next few weeks, we will be telling Nikol's story.

59% of returnees we support said that without us they would have been forced to beg and steal to survive. 

People returning to the UK from prison overseas are at the greatest risk of street homelessness and destitution. Our crisis service helps them to access accommodation, first of all temporary and later permanent, and access to welfare benefits, healthcare, specialist training and employment services. This is critical work with a particularly vulnerable and marginalised group of people to keep them off the street and provide them with opportunities to change their lives. 

A total of 300 people used the service last year, of which 149 had newly returned.