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Women in prison have revealed the devastating impact of Covid-19 restrictions on their mental health and wellbeing, in a briefing launched today by the Prison Reform Trust.

Based on evidence from women in prison from May 2020 to May 2021, as well as supporting evidence from HM Inspectorate of Prisons and other sources, the briefing looks at women’s experiences of prison during the first and second waves of the pandemic.

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Olivia Dehnavi, Policy and Research Officer and Working Chance has written about the discrimination faced by women of colour, long after their prison sentence is over, for gal-dem.

"Women of colour who find themselves convicted of a crime are serving a lifetime sentence, thanks to societal discrimination."

Read the full article here.

Click here for our briefing 'Counted Out: Black, Asian and minority enthnic women in the criminal justice system.

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Commenting on the findings of today's (3 September) report on conditions at HMP/YOI Low Newton by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, Peter Dawson, director of PRT said:

"There is much to admire in the way that managers and staff at Low Newton seek to help a very vulnerable and damaged group of women. But it is shameful that the courts still send women to prison as a 'place of safety' because there is no appropriate healthcare provision for them in the community. The current bill before parliament provides an opportunity to put this right, but ministers have chosen not to take it. They need to change their minds before it becomes law."

Read the full report here.

Read our 'Why focus on reducing women's imprisonment?' briefing here.

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Today (26 August) HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has published his report on an unnounced inspection of HMP Send.

In the first full inspection of the prison since 2018, inspectors found that Send had remained a safe and respectful establishment with a strong culture of support. They did find, however, that purposeful activity - training, education and other work - was no sufficiently good and rehabilitation and release planning had deteriorated.

Read the full report here.

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No new prisons for women!

28/07/2021 16:17:00

"The government has announced its intention to spend £150 million on building 500 new prison places for women. If ever a public spending project promised to bring increased misery this is it!"

Rona Epstein and PRT's Paula Harriott have written for the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies about why plans for new prison places in the women's estate should be halted, and instead, we should be looking to invest in women's centres.

Read the full blog here.

For more information on women in prison, see our 'Why focus on reducing women's imprisonment' briefing.

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"Putting more women in prison is wrong and goes against the government's own female offender strategy, say charities, campaigners and peers. They have written today to Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, and Alex Chalk, the prisons minister, arguing for community solutions instead."

More than 70 charities, organisations and individuals have signed an open letter calling on the government to stop plans for 500 new prison places in the women's estate.

Read coverage of the issue by The Times here.

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