A requirement that the particular needs of women offenders must be addressed in the provision of supervision and rehabilitation services is now included in the Offender Rehabilitation Bill and will be given the force of law when enacted.
The Offender Rehabilitation Bill was amended by the Government during the House of Lords third reading yesterday (9 July 2013) to require the Secretary of State to ensure that arrangements for supervision and rehabilitation services comply with the public sector equality duty “as it relates to female offenders”. This will apply to public, private, and voluntary sector providers of offender services.
As the Justice Secretary announces 70 resettlement prisons, briefing finds budget cuts and overcrowding are leading to less purposeful activity, reduced regimes and more time in cell.
Massive cuts in prison staff and budgets are placing overcrowded prisons in England and Wales under unprecedented strain and undermining government plans to transform rehabilitation, the Prison Reform Trust's new iPad app Prison: The Facts, Bromley Briefings Online, reveals.
Jenny Earle, director of PRT’s Programme to Reduce Women’s Imprisonment, took part in a panel discussion on Woman’s Hour which broadcast a special programme examining alternatives to prison for low-risk women offenders on Wednesday 19 June.
The programme featured moving accounts from women who have received support from Anawim women’s centre in Birmingham, and the panel included Joy Doal of Anawim and Alan Beith MP, Chair of the Justice Select Committee. The Minister Helen Grant MP was also interviewed and expressed her support for community sentences and the work of women’s centres.
You can listen to the show here
The Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has said better community alternatives to women’s imprisonment are a priority in the Scottish Government’s plans to reform women’s justice.
Speaking ahead of a reception in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon (Wednesday) to mark the initiative by the Soroptimists and the Prison Reform Trust to reduce women’s imprisonment across the UK and to publicise their action pack, he said:
“Reducing reoffending, improving the circumstances of women in prison and seeking better community-based alternatives to imprisonment for women continue to be priorities for the Scottish Government – indeed, that’s why we established the Commission on Women Offenders.”