Comment, analysis and debate for those with an interest in the issues facing women in the criminal justice system...

Comment and Analysis

Mar24 24/03/2017 16:43:00 by Zoey

On the 3 November 2016, the Ministry of Justice published a White Paper ‘Prison Safety and Reform’ setting out the government’s vision for reform of the prison estate in England and Wales.  In relation to women, the White Paper committed to publishing a strategy to “improve the safety and reform of female offenders in custody and in the community”, and for “the creation of five small community prisons for women”.

In response to this, we have put a proposal to the Ministry of Justice to invest in a network of women's centres across England and Wales. Download the proposal here.

In 2015 the Justice Data Lab assessed the impact on re‐offending of support provided to female offenders by Women’s Centres throughout England.It showed a significant reduction in the number of women that reoffended who had support.

Nov21 21/11/2016 10:30:00 by Zoey

Chair of the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance Alison Frater blogs about a collaborative event at the Houses of Parliament on 25th October. The event, hosted by the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and held in conjunction with Clinks, Prison Reform Trust and Agenda: Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk, saw a performance of Open Clasp’s ‘Key Change’ followed by a panel discussion.

Read the blog online here.

Alison Frater is an independent public health consultant, with particular expertise in women’s health. She was until recently  Head of Public Health and Health in the Justice System for NHS London, responsible for developing the strategy for women's health in the criminal justice system. Alison has expertise in research and implementation of evidence-based policy, with a strong focus on advocacy for social justice and reducing inequalities.  Alison is a visiting professor at Royal Holloway, University of London and a senior research fellow at the University of Southampton.  She was appointed Chair of the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice in 2015, and is a champion of the role of the arts as a springboard to change. Alison is also a member of Prison Reform Trust's Transforming Lives Advisory Group.

Nov11 11/11/2016 10:20:00 by Zoey

Tom Guiney, Senior Programme Officer at Prison Reform Trust, blogs for the Justice Gap on the 81.5% increase in the number of women being recalled from licence to prison since Transforming Rehabiliation launched.

Read the full article here.

Nov10 10/11/2016 16:46:00 by Zoey

On 8 November Jenny Earle joined an eminent panel convened by Halsbury's Law Exchange and chaired by Joshua Rosenberg, to discuss the topic "women in prison: is the justice system fit for purpose?". This was the second such event, the previous one having taken place in 2014. Since then Felicity Gerry QC and Lyndon Harris have pulled together a detailed discussion paper on the sentencing and treatment of women within the criminal justice system, making a number of proposals for reform and referencing the PRT’s Sentencing of Mothers report.

Nov9 09/11/2016 11:50:00 by Zoey

Eric Allison writes for the Guardian about the Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss' prison reform white paper unveiled on 3 November 2016. The paper announces the creation of five new community prisons to house women ahead of release.

In his article, Allison looks at the work being undertaken in Scotland and speaks to Transforming Lives Programme Manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Yvonne Donald, who comments that:
“There are still too may women being sent to prison for minor offences, including on remand and for short sentences...[but] the Scottish government’s reforms are heading very much in the right direction.”

A decade on from the Corston Report on women in the criminal justice system, it seems that the importance of community support and services are finally being recognised in Scotland as well as providing a good example for the Justice Secretary's proposals for women in England and Wales

You can read the full Guardian article here.

For more information on women in the criminal justice system in Scotland, you can access the Transforming Lives: Scotland report here.

Nov1 01/11/2016 00:00:00 by Jenny Talbot

Jenny Talbot blogs about her recently published report Leading change: the role of local authorities in supporting women with multiple needs. The report was written in partnership with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Centre for Mental Health, and Education Policy Institute.

The report is a strategic guide for council officers and locally elected members from councils across England. It sets out the case for change and suggests practical ways in which local authorities can prioritise and address the needs of some of the most vulnerable citizens in their local area.