Implications of Incarceration on Council Housing

Prison Info

Being sent to prison can have significant repercussions on various aspects of one’s life, including access to council housing (also known as social housing) within the United Kingdom (UK). Understanding the implications incarceration can have on council housing is crucial to grasp for both individuals and their loved ones.

Understanding Council Housing in the UK

Council housing refers to properties owned and managed by local authorities. These properties are often leased to individuals or families who are unable to afford to rent or buy homes on the private market due to their low income or other personal circumstances. Such housing arrangements offer affordable, stable, and long-term housing solution for many people in need.


Eligibility for council housing can vary across different regions in the UK. However, the common factor among all council housing providers is that they aim to prioritize housing for those who need it most, including the homeless, people living in substandard housing, and households with a low income. Nevertheless, there are restrictions based on the applicant’s behavior, including individuals incarcerated or with a history of rent arrears.

The Impact of Incarceration

On being sent to prison, an individual’s eligibility for council housing can change. This primarily depends on the length of the custodial sentence, the type of tenancy agreement in place, and the individual’s personal circumstances.

Short Term Prison Sentence

If a person is sentenced to less than 13 weeks in prison, they can typically retain their council house. This is assuming rent and other obligations continue to be met. The council tenant or a named person must ensure rent payments are maintained, or risk eviction.

Long Term Prison Sentence

For prison sentences longer than 13 weeks, councils have discretion around whether to continue the tenancy or terminate it. Each council has its own policy about housing individuals who have been incarcerated. However, generally if a tenant is in prison for more than 12 months, they are likely to lose their council house.

Releasing from Prison

Upon release, a former prisoner’s specific circumstances will largely dictate their eligibility for council housing. On release, they may qualify as ‘statutorily homeless,’ giving them an automatic priority need for housing. However, this does not guarantee they will be immediately provided with a council house. Each council has its own policy and often demand outstrips supply.

Support for Ex-Prisoners

A variety of organizations exist to support former prisoners in their transition back into society, including assistance to secure housing.These include Shelter; the Prisoners’ Advice Service; and Nacro, a social justice charity.


In summary, incarceration can significantly impact an individual’s relationship with council housing. Various factors are taken into consideration, and each council has its own policies. For detailed advice and guidance, individuals should contact their local council or speak to a charitable organization that specializes in prisoner support.

Useful Contacts

  1. Shelter: 0808 800 4444
  2. Prisoners’ Advice Service: 020 7253 3323
  3. Nacro: 0300 123 1889

What is the cheapest way to call from Prison?

It is by far cheaper to call landline numbers - however landlines are becoming less common in homes & it is by far more convenient to call your loved ones mobile incase you are calling when they aren't at home. Our call packages gives you the best of both worlds - landline call pricing, but the prisoner can call you on your mobile!

Is it cheaper to call a landline from prison?

Most definitely - YES! Mobiles can cost over 25p per minute, the precious phone credit runs out very fast! Our unlimited prison calls package saves money whilst adding the convenience of being able to pickup calls on your mobile.
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