Ministry of Justice's new strategy for women

Commenting on the publication of the Ministry of Justice’s “Female Offender Strategy” today (27 June 2018), Kate Paradine, Chief Executive of Women in Prison, said:

“We warmly welcome the strategy’s commitment to reduce the number of women in prison and to focus on community alternatives. It recognises the vision that Baroness Jean Corston set out 11 years ago in her groundbreaking report on the issue. The strategy acknowledges the harm caused by the current criminal justice system to women, families and communities and it is the right decision not to build new women’s prisons.

“The strategy recognizes that community-based services like women’s centres are the answer to addressing the root causes of offending, including addiction, homelessness, mental ill health and experience of domestic abuse. But these services are facing a serious and deepening funding crisis.

“If women’s centres are really to be at the heart of the strategy this crisis must be addressed. It is impossible to see how the vision set out in the strategy can possibly be delivered with the pitiful amount of new funding that has been announced.

“We now need to see evidence of urgent cross-government action to resource and implement this strategy. If this does not happen then the opportunity will be lost to transform the current shameful response to some of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable women, and their families. We will be left with a broken system that fails victims and communities.”