Women in Prison responds to report into HMP Foston Hall
HM Inspectorate of Prisons has given the lowest safety score possible to a woman’s prison - the first time in over a decade.
The assessment of ‘poor’ was given to HMP & YOI Foston Hall in Derbyshire in a report released today, (9 February, 2022) which found that “the response to women in crisis was too reactive, uncaring and often punitive.” The prison had no strategy to reduce self-harm or improve the care for those in crisis.
Inspectors found that the use of force by staff had doubled since its last inspection in 2019. Recorded levels of self-harm in the prison were the highest in the women’s estate and two women had taken their own lives since its last inspection. Women were making 1,000 calls a month to the Samaritans and the prison had no strategy to reduce self-harm or improve the care for those in crisis. Messages left on the prison’s ‘24/7’ crisis hotline for families to call if they had concerns about a woman in HMP Foston Hall, had not been checked for six weeks.
This report is even more worrying in the context of January’s National Audit Office report which found the Government has failed to prioritise supporting women who are caught up in the criminal justice system.
Chief executive of Women in Prison, Dr Kate Paradine, says: “This Inspectorate report is yet another shameful indictment on the crisis going on across women's prisons. Despite record levels of self-harm, with women making 1,000 calls a month to Samaritans, the prison’s crisis hotline for families had not been checked for six weeks.
"This is not about the desperate situation facing women in one prison but a stark reminder that prisons will never be safe. The Government's solution is to shut its eyes and instead plan 500 new women’s prison places, but we cannot continue to ignore this suffering.
“There is another way, the Government can and must divert the money set aside for new prison places to invest in community solutions, like Women Centres, instead. Here, women can be supported to tackle the issues that sweep them into crime in the first place, like mental ill-health and domestic abuse.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS :
Dr Kate Paradine Chief executive of Women in Prison is available for interviews.
For media enquiries, please contact Molly Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 07971951477
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 www.womeninprison.org.uk for more information. Twitter: @WIP_live