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Prison Sentences: Females

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 20299, tabled on 17 June 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to stop women being sent to prison for non-violent crimes.

Answered on

27 June 2022

As set out in the 2018 Female Offender Strategy, the Government is committed to ensure more women are managed successfully in the community and that fewer women go to prison, particularly on short sentences.

We are investing tens of millions of pounds over the next three years into community services for women, drug rehabilitation and accommodation support, so fewer women end up in prison. We will open the first Residential Women’s Centre (RWC), in Swansea, which will offer an intensive residential support package in the community for women at risk of short custodial sentences. Under powers in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, we will pilot Problem-Solving Courts targeting specific cohorts with underlying needs, including one pilot exclusively for female offenders, to provide robust community sentences as a more effective alternative to custody where appropriate.

In addition, we have launched a Pre-Sentence Report (PSR) pilot in 15 magistrates’ courts to evaluate how higher quality and more timely PSRs can best inform sentencers’ decisions in relation to female offenders (and other groups).

We will publish a Delivery Plan for the Female Offender Strategy later this summer. This will set out our ambitious cross-Government approach for the next three years.