Women in prison – Letter in the Daily Telegraph signed by Roma Hooper
SIR – Five years after Baroness Corston’s review of women in prison, we still send 600 first-time, non-violent female offenders to prison each year. A further 900 are locked up for breaching a community order, despite the original offence not warranting custody. These women are sentenced to six months or less in prison.
Instead of locking up a group posing no public threat, a report today by Professor Carol Hedderman, for the Criminal Justice Alliance, recommends that non-violent women offenders, and those who breach community sentences because of chaotic lifestyles or vulnerable circumstances, should not be sentenced to custody.
Community sentences are more effective and cost-efficient for families. Of the 18,000 children who see their mothers sent to prison every year, only 5 per cent are able to stay in their own homes.
These recommendations save more than £4 million in prison costs alone. An entire women’s prison could be close – Baroness Stern.
Judge John Samuels
Chairman, Criminal Justice Alliance
Director, Prison Reform Trust
Professor Carol Hedderman
Department of Criminology, University of Leicester
Director, Criminal Justice Alliance
Director, Women in Prison
Director, Women’s Breakout
Director, Action for Prisoners’ Families
The Griffins Society
Director, Make Justice Work