Women in the Penal System – new inquiry launched

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Vigil for Justice –

Women in the Penal System – new inquiry launched

The Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System, chaired by Baroness Jean Corston and Victoria Prentis MP, has recently launched a new Inquiry into the sentencing of women.

It is over ten years since the publication of the Corston Report, Baroness Corston’s review of women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system. The review recommended that community solutions should be the norm for women convicted of non-violent offences. Despite this, the number of community sentences for women has almost halved in a decade. Instead, women are sent to prison to serve often extremely short sentences, with around 70% of women sentenced by the courts for six months or less.

The aims of the new Inquiry are two-fold: to reveal the issues around sentencing that inhibit the use of non-custodial solutions and to encourage and enable the magistracy not to send women to prison.

  • The inquiry will particularly focus on:
  • The views and training of magistrates on CRCs, community sentences, women’s centres and the specific needs of women
    The impact of probation reforms on the use of community sentence
  • Practical changes that would enable more community sentencing of women in the short term

Napo will be making a detailed submission and we would very much welcome input from members, especially practical examples of how the system is failing women offenders and what can be done to improve it.

Please send your input to Kath Falcon kfalcon@napo.org.uk by Monday 30th April.

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