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Prison Sentences: Females

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 209383, tabled on 16 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to reduce the use of short prison sentences for women.

Answered on

25 January 2019

In June 2018, we published the Female Offender Strategy which set out the Government’s aim to see fewer women in custody, especially on short term sentences. There is persuasive evidence that many women, particularly on short custodial sentences, can be better supported in the community on robust and effective community sentences.

The Strategy set out a new programme of work to improve outcomes for female offenders and shift our emphasis from custody to the community. This included a £5m investment in community provision for female offenders over 2018/19 and 2019/20. We awarded £3.3m to 12 organisations last November, and on 23 January we announced a further £1.6m, which will benefit 17 organisations and 83 female rape support centres.

We consider that the availability of intensive residential support packages, both at the point of sentencing and on release, is one important element in achieving the changes we want to see. We are therefore committed to working with local and national partners to develop a ‘residential women’s centre’ pilot in at least five sites across England and Wales.

The Strategy is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/female-offender-strategy.