WIP responds to Public Accounts Committee Report

Published today, a report by the Public Accounts Committee says it is clear that the government have failed to prioritise women caught up in the criminal justice system.

The Public Accounts Committee say that despite overwhelming support for the Government’s strategy on women in contact with the criminal justice system, implementation has been a “relatively low priority” for the Ministry of Justice, even before the pandemic.

The strategy committed to reducing the number of women in prison and increasing support in the community. Despite this, the Government has spent just £9.5m on community services for women over four years but have committed to spending £200 million on 500 additional prison places for women. The report also details the Committee’s concern that the Strategy was not designed by the Ministry of Justice in a way “which would allow it to be held to account.”

Chief executive of Women in Prison, Dr Kate Paradine, says:

“This is another vital report showing the Government is failing to be transparent, accountable and uphold its promises.

Its own strategy commits to reducing the number of women in custody as it acknowledges that most women in prison should not be there. More money for more prison places won’t stop women being swept up into crime. What will is investing in local services.

There is time to get this right. The Government must prioritise its Strategy and follow its own evidence about what works. It needs to immediately stop its plans to build 500 prison places and fund community organisations such as Women’s Centres that tackle the root causes of crime including domestic abuse, mental ill health and poverty. Only then will we see the aims of the strategy realised, with fewer women drawn into the criminal justice system and a reduction in crime.”

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Dr Kate Paradine Chief Executive of Women in Prison is available for interviews.

For media enquiries, please contact Nicola Drinkwater at [email protected], Phone: 07971951477

Read the case for women’s centres here.

The Ministry of Justice’s safety in custody statistics will be published at 9am today. The statistics from the previous quarter showed an all time high. See our press release here.

Women in Prison (WIP) is a national charity that delivers support for women affected by the criminal justice system. We work in prisons, the community and ‘through the gate’, supporting women leaving prison. We run Women’s Centres and ‘hubs’ for services in Manchester and London and campaign to end the harm caused to women, their families and our communities by imprisonment

See www.womeninprison.org.uk for more information. Twitter: @WIP_live