We offer specialist legal aid to women in prison.

Over the past decade there has been a significant increase in the numbers of European Economic Area (EEA) women in prison, with a substantial number coming from Eastern European countries. Statistics from some prisons now show that 40-50% of the foreign national prison population is made up of EEA women.   

Through the AIRE Centre’s advice line and legal casework, we have witnessed systematic violations of EU law by authorities and decision-makers. These include inappropriate threats to deportation; illegal refusal of early release and denial of benefit and housing assistance to which they are entitled.

If you need advice regarding an imprisoned or recently imprisoned woman who has experienced inappropriate threats to deportation; illegal refusal of early release or denial of benefit and housing assistance to which they are entitled, please call our advice line for free legal advice.

Our advice line is open Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays between 10:30am and 6pm on 020 7831 4276 or email us at i[email protected]


The EEA Women in Prison Project is our current project and is a focused initiative designed to address the specific needs of these women and their family members. The project aims to identify the specific issues that cause common difficulty for EEA women in prison and develop a targeted strategy to reduce these problems in the longer term by raising awareness and providing specialist legal advice. We plan to collect detailed information on the proportion of women in the foreign national prison population in the UK and work with prison authorities and organisations to provide a sustainable support network and improve access to justice for EEA women in prison.

What do we do?

  • Provide EEA women in prison with detailed written legal advice, individual prison consultations and advice surgeries.

  • Identify cases where policies of discrimination or institutional denial of rights emerge, and undertake strategic litigation at both the UK and European higher courts.

  • Provide representation in appropriate cases in domestic tribunals as well as relevant European courts, free of charge.

  • Continue to develop links with front line organisations to facilitate access to the 13 women’s prisons across the country.

  • Develop accessible resources for EEA women in prison to help them gain understanding and access their rights independently.

  • Deliver training to those working directly with EEA women in prison to improve knowledge of EU law and the support mechanisms available.

The EEA Women in Prison Project is generously funded by the Hadley Trust, the Pilgrim Trust, Evan Cornish and Comic Relief

Please follow us on Twitter @AIRECentre and keep an eye on this section of our website for updates on the project’s progress and future activities.

Header Photo: Kim Daram 'Prison'