New Leadership Board for Women in Prison launched to raise vital funds in 40th anniversary year

For immediate release. London, Thursday 20th June, 2024.

As Women in Prison commemorates its 40th anniversary in 2024, the organisation proudly announces the formation of its new Leadership Board, a dedicated group of experts, advisors, and changemakers committed to driving systemic change for women affected by the criminal justice system.

Women who are drawn into the criminal justice system are often experiencing multiple overlapping challenges: from domestic abuse, to mental ill-health, to poverty and substance misuse. These challenges are then further compounded by prison and the criminal justice system, which is not a safe place or an appropriate response to women's needs.

With the women's prison population predicted to rise to 4,200 by 2027, instead of criminalising women, we need to invest in community-based services that meet their needs and address the root causes that sweep them into the criminal justice system.

The Leadership Board aims to raise up to £5 million in funding between 2024 and 2027, supporting thousands of women in the community where they can feel safe and supported to lead happy, healthy lives.

The Leadership Board, chaired by Vicky Pryce, includes esteemed members from various sectors:

  • Vicky Pryce: Chief Economic Adviser and board member at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), Visiting Professor at BCU and King’s College, London, and Trustee of Women in Prison.
  • Ngunan Adamu: Producer, presenter, international multimedia trainer, and founder of iWoman Academy CIC.
  • Cherie Blair CBE, KC: Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Co-Founder and Chair of Omnia Strategy LLP.
  • Dan Corry: Economist and Chief Executive of NPC, Chair of Carers Trust, former head of think tank, New Local and has held various government special adviser roles.
  • Anne Minto OBE: Lawyer and former Group Human Resources Director at Centrica, Independent Trustee on the Court of the University of Aberdeen and chair of the Finance and Resources Committee. Previously served as non-executive director on the Boards of Shire plc, Tate and Lyle plc and EXL Inc .
  • Bishop of Gloucester, The Rt Revd Rachel Treweek: Anglican Bishop for HM Prisons in England and Wales.

Sonya Ruparel, CEO, Women in Prison, welcomed the new board: "We are thrilled to launch this Leadership Board at such a pivotal moment for Women in Prison. Their expertise and passion will be instrumental in raising awareness and essential funds to support some of the most neglected and ignored women in our society, helping to prevent further harm and fostering a more just and equitable system."

The Leadership Board's primary goal is to raise awareness and significant funding to support initiatives aimed at preventing women from being drawn into the criminal justice system and addressing the root causes of criminalisation. By doing so, the board seeks to end the harm caused by the criminal justice system on women's lives, their families, and communities.

Vicky Pryce, Chair of the Leadership Board, expressed her commitment, "Women are being harmed twice, first by society through abuse, poverty, and addiction, and then by the criminal justice system. By tackling the root causes of offending, we will not only support the most disadvantaged women but also their children, communities, and the wider society and economy."

Cherie Blair CBE, KC, highlighted the importance of early intervention, stating, "I firmly believe if we properly support women and girls facing multiple disadvantages before they are criminalised, we will prevent them being further harmed by the criminal justice system, giving them a chance to live well and thrive.

Women’s charities are often overlooked and underfunded in the UK, I do hope you will feel compelled to join me in supporting this important work."

Dan Corry, another key member, emphasised the critical nature of this initiative, "This board is a significant step towards creating a supportive environment for women at risk of being drawn into the criminal justice system.

In my work in government and in the charity world I have seen so many failings in the way we go about running our prisons, almost guaranteed not to do much to prevent re-offending. And it is even more frustrating when it comes to women in prison, many of whom should not even be there and where even a short sentence can destroy the lives not only of them but of their children.

Our aim is to raise the funds necessary to empower women and bring about lasting change."

For more information, please contact: [email protected]