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The rules for disclosing convictions and cautions have a disproportionate impact on women, as the most common sectors for women in the general population to work in are health and social work, wholesale and retailed trade and education. Many of these roles are subject to an 'enhanced check'- meaning that even convictions which have long been 'spent' must be disclosed. 

It has been announced today, after many years of campaigns, spearheadded by Unlock, planned changes to criminal record disclosures will take effect on 28 November. These changes affect spent convictions had continued to be disclosed on standard and enhanced checked. Find out more on the filtering system here.  

Though this change is a welcome one, there is a long way to go before we have a criminal records system fit for all.

For more information on these issues read our briefing 'Working it Out: Improving employment opportunities for women with criminal convictions' here.

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A new report from Manchester Metropolitan University has found evidence that women are being sent to prison for life for violent crimes they did not commit. The study found at least 109 women have been sentenced to long or even life prison sentences under joint enterprise laws.

Click here to read an article in the Independent about the new report.

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This Birth Companions publication, developed in partnership with women who have lived experience, offers 'an accessible and comprehensive guide to pregnancy and early motherhood in the prison system...the guide is useful for pregnant women and mothers, their family members and support networks, and the professionals working with them.'

Read the full guide here.

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Our senior programme manager Katy Swaine Williams has taken part in a podcast, released today, on the Domestic Abuse Bill.

The podcast is a discussion between the Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester (who launched the blog) and six women involved in work on the bill - Nicole Jacobs, Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner; Robyn Andréo-Boosey of IC Change; Niki Gould of the Nelson Trust; Huda Jawad of Faith and VAWG Coalition; Pragna Patel of Southall Black Sisters; Andrea Simon of End Violence Against Women Coalition; and Katy.

Listen to the podcast here

For more information on our work around the Domestic Abuse Bill click here

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The Prison and ProbationOmbudsman (PPO) recently upheld my complaint after HMP East Sutton Park stopped voluntary work for all residents in October 2019, allowing only paid work placements. I had thoroughly enjoyed my voluntary job as a Telephone Helpline Adviser with the charity Unlock for 10 months and would have happily continued it until release, but this was not to be. As a woman nearing retirement age, I was not seeking paid work on release.  

Click 'read more' for the full guest blog

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Commenting on the findings of today's report, The Case for Sustainable Funding for Women’s Centres, published by the Women’s Budget Group in collaboration with Women in Prison, Nelson Trust, Together Women, Anawim and Brighton Women’s Centre, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

"For some time there has been broad agreement on the right policy solutions for women at risk of needless imprisonment. The government itself has signed up to a strategy that describes most of what needs to be done. But it hasn’t turned words into reality. This detailed and immensely practical report removes any last excuse for not doing so. At a time when the money available to build new prisons and employ more prison staff to run them appears to be without limit, this report doesn’t just make the case for a very modest investment in women’s centres, it describes in detail how to go about it. But time is short—if the government dithers, the organisations it needs to deliver the change it wants may no longer exist."

Click here to download a copy of the report

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