The Prison Reform Trust has long called for a reduction in women’s imprisonment in the UK and a step change in how the criminal justice system responds to the needs of women…

Our 5 year, lottery funded 'Transforming Lives: reducing women's imprisonment' programme came to an end last year. But our work on reducing women's imprisonment continues. On these pages you will find a range of resources relating to the policy and practice of women in the criminal justice system.

Why Women?

While there are signs of progress more work is needed to improve outcomes for women in the criminal justice system.

  • Women were sent to prison on 5,011 occasions in 2020 - either on remand or to serve a sentence.

  • Women are much more likely than men to self-harm whilst in prison. In 2020, women made up 22% of all self-harm incidents despite making up only 4% of the prison population.
  • More women are sent to prison to serve a sentence for theft than for violence against the person, robbery, sexual offences, drugs, and motoring offences combined.

  • Women in prison are highly likely to be victims as well as offenders. Over half the women in prison report having suffered domestic violence with 53% of women reporting having experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse as a child.

  • Many of them have dependent children - an estimated 17,000 children are affected by maternal imprisonment every year.

Gender Specific Options For Diversionary Measures And Pre-Trial And Sentencing Alternatives Shall Be Developed Within Member States' Legal Systems, Taking Account Of The History Of Victimisation Of Many Women Offenders And Their Caretaking Responsibilities

The UK Bangkok Rules, Resolution 2010/16 Rule 57

Contact us

If you would like to know more about our work on women in the criminal justice system we would love to hear from you.

You can contact us in the following ways: