News

Jul20 20/07/2017 11:31:00 by Zoey

A report on the ‘Sentencing of Parents’ discussion hosted by the Scottish Sentencing Council as part of their programme to increase awareness and understanding of all aspects of sentencing has been made available online.

Prison Reform Trust attended this event with Families Outside, Together, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland and the Sentencing Group for Northern Ireland. Dr Shona Minson from the Centre for Criminology at Oxford University and also representing the Prison Reform Trust gave a presentation on the sentencing of primary carers, available here.

The Council will now consider the issues raised in the discussion, such as:

  • how parental caring responsibilities should be taken into account during the sentencing process
  • to what extent such responsibilities should influence sentencing decisions
  • how other jurisdictions have addressed this issue
  • whether there may be a role for the court to seek additional information about children who may be affected by sentencing decisions.

Read the full report.

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Jul3 03/07/2017 13:54:00 by Zoey
Prison Reform Trust has submitted a response to the Sentencing Council's Intimidatory Offences and Domestic Abuse Guidelines consultation, focusing on highlighting the links between women’s experience of violence, sexual violence, domestic abuse and coercion, and their experience as offenders in the criminal justice system.

We specifically explore the experience of the small minority of women who use violence in response to abuse by a primary aggressor.  We also briefly consider the availability of robust, accredited perpetrator programmes for men in prison and in the community.

We also make a general recommendation that the Sentencing Council should carry out an impact assessment of all its proposals on the prison population, if this has not already been done.

Read the full consultation response here.

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May15 15/05/2017 16:15:00 by Zoey

Jenny Earle will be on the panel for Prisoners' Advice Service's annual discussion, which this year will be exploring the effect that sentencing mothers has upon families and children.

Download our Sentencing of Mothers discussion paper here (November 2015)

The event is on Wednesday 24 May from 6pm. Find more about the panel discussion and how to register (free) for the event here

Other speakers
joining Jenny on the panel will be:
  • Lucy Baldwin - Senior Lecturer in Criminology, De Montfort University; and author of 'Mothering Justice';
  • Paula Harriott - Head of Involvement, Revolving doors; and ex-prisoner;
  • Renuka Jeyarajah-Dent - Director of Operations, Coram; and educational psychologist;
  • Sam Genen - Solicitor, and leader of Women's Sentencing Project, Centre for Criminal Appeals;
  • Phillippa Kaufmann QC - Chair of Panel; Matrix Chambers
May4 04/05/2017 10:55:00 by Zoey

Jenny Earle, Director of Prison Reform Trust's Reducing Women's Imprisonment programme, joined Countess Sara Bathurst, the former High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour to talk about the Women's Institute opening up a branch in HMP Eastwood Park, and how this can provide a support network for the women to help reintegrate back into their community on release. 

The WI branch currently has 35 members and is called 'Lady B's Butterflies' in honour of the Countess being one of the founders.  

Listen to the interview again by clicking here.

Apr28 28/04/2017 14:40:00 by Zoey

In the last month three reports have been published highlighting the need to look into the self-harm and deaths of women in custody.

- The Ministry of Justice (April 2017), Safety in custody statistics (quarterly update to December 2016)  - available here.

- The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (March 2017), Self-inflicted deaths among female prisoners - available here.

- The Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (IAP) (March 2017), Preventing the Deaths of Women in Prison – initial results of a rapid information gathering exercise - available here.

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Apr10 10/04/2017 16:03:00 by Zoey

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The sixty-first session of the CSW took place at the United Nations Headquarters In New York from 13 - 24 March 2017.

The event occurs annually, providing a space where UN member states, civil society organisations such as our partner Soroptimist International, and UN entities can discuss thematic issues relevant to gender equality.

At an expert panel discussion, Pat Black, Soroptimist International Director of Advocacy, spoke of the need to use non-traditional data sources to collect data at local levels. Pat explained that using a woman-centred community based approach has positive and economic outcomes. She focused on the example of Soroptimist International collaborating with the Prison Reform Trust in the UK on Transforming Lives to inform policy and practice, and prosecution and sentencing guidelines with data analysis; as well as using well researched good practice and thematic briefings for those working with women in penal system. Soroptimist International collected standardised information at grassroots level and this data has impacted UK government decisions.

We are pleased that our work on Transforming Lives with Soroptimist International GBI was brought up at the UN as an area of good collaboration and practice between the two organisations.