Following the tragic death of six women at Styal prison, the Home Secretary asked Baroness Jean Corston to conduct a review of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system. Throughout 2006 Baroness Corston and her team visited overcrowded women’s jails, local women’s centres and alternatives to custody for women across the UK.
Baroness Corston's review, outlining the need for a distinct, radically different, visibly-led, strategic, proportionate, holistic, woman-centred, integrated approach was published in March 2007.
The report made 43 recommendations for improving the approaches, services and interventions for women in the criminal justice system and women at risk of offending.
Welcoming the report by Baroness Jean Corston, Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:
The Corston review gives government the chance at long last to join up its social policy with its criminal justice policy. Most women in prison have committed petty offences. Very many have been victims of serious crime and sustained abuse. A new commission for women, with a sensible blueprint for reform across government departments, will largely do away with big prisons that operate as social dustbins for vulnerable women and introduce instead a network of small units and effective local services coupled with proper supervision and support. Many women who offend will have their first real opportunity to beat drugs, drink, mental illness and crime and to take responsibility for their lives, and those of their children, and most will take it.
The Corston Report - executive summary
The Corston Report - full report
Government response to the Corston Report