PRESS RELEASE: Women in Prison responds to National Audit Office report

Women in Prison responds to new National Audit Office report

Today, (January 19th 2021) The National Audit Office, released a report which found that the Government has failed to prioritise supporting women who are caught up in the criminal justice system.

The NAO described how the Ministry of Justice “failed to prioritise” its own 2018 strategy* on women in the criminal justice system which committed to reducing the number of women in prison and instead increase support in the community.

It added the MOJ has a “poor understanding of progress” on the Female Offender Strategy which has led to ill-informed decisions around prioritisation and funding. The watchdog noted a £50m change in the expected cost for the planned 500 new women’s prison* places from a predicted £150m to £200m.

Chief Executive of Women in Prison, Dr Kate Paradine, said:

“This vital report shows the Government is failing to follow its own evidence and strategy which acknowledges 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 still time to get this right. The Government can and must stop plans for 500 new women’s prison places and instead fulfil its strategy to reduce the number of women in prison, by funding community solutions, like Women Centres, which provide an anchor of support to help tackle the root causes of crime such as domestic abuse and poverty.”


For media enquiries, please contact Molly Fleming at, Phone: 07971951477

In January, the Government announced proposals for 500 new women’s prison places despite this contradicting its own strategy and widespread criticism of the plans including a letter signed by over 70 peers, campaigners and charities including Shelter.

Read the case for women’s centres here and for key facts on women in prison 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 for more information. Twitter: @WIP_live