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News Archives: Index

October 7, 2010: Probation Set For Industrial Action

October 5, 2010: Turning Prisoners Into Taxpayers

October 4, 2010: Murder Changes Now In Force

September 20, 2010: Probation Programmes Face Cuts

August 24, 2010: Victorian Poor Law Records Online

August 10, 2010: Justice Job Cuts

July 28, 2010: Prison Violence Growing

July 22, 2010: Police Numbers: Latest Figures

July 22, 2010: New Jurisdiction Rules

July 16, 2010: CCJS On Prison And Probation Spending Under Labour

July 15, 2010: Latest Statistics On Violent And Sexual Crime

July 15, 2010: Latest National Crime Figures

July 15, 2010: New Chief Prisons Inspector

July 14, 2010: Hard Times Ahead For Prisons: Anne Owers

July 14, 2010: Prison Does Not Work: Ken Clarke

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform: Sentencing and Rehabilitation

July 13, 2010: Criminal Justice Reform Priorities

July 12, 2010: What Price Public Protection, Asks Probation Chief Inspector

July 12, 2010: NOMS has failed, says Napo

July 10, 2010: IPCC To Investigate Death of Raoul Moat

July 9, 2010: Women In Prison: New Report

July 9, 2009: Unjust Deserts: Imprisonment for Public Protection

July 8, 2010: Police Search Powers Change

July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD

July 2, 2010: Failing Children In Prison

July 2, 2010: Police Buried Under a Blizzard of Guidance: HMIC

July 1, 2010: Freedom To Change The Law?

June 30, 2010: A New Outlook On Penal Reform?

June 30, 2010: Revolving Door Of Offending Must Stop, Says Clarke

June 30, 2010: Ken Clarke: Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

June 29, 2010: No More Police Targets

June 26, 2010: Family Intervention Projects Questioned

June 25, 2010: Cutting Criminal Justice

June 24, 2010: Napo on Sex Offenders Report

June 23, 2010: Closing Courts: The Cuts Begin

June 23, 2010: Strategy To Tackle Gangs

June 15, 2010: Courts and Mentally Disordered Offenders

June 8, 2010: Working With Muslims in Prison

June 1, 2010: Your Chance To Nominate a QC

September 6, 2004: Thousands of women needlessly imprisoned, say PRT

Six out of ten women imprisoned while awaiting trial are subsequently acquitted or given a non-custodial sentence according to a Prison Reform Trust report by Dr Kimmett Edgar.

The report states that the number of women being remanded into custody has more than trebled in a decade, despite the fact that more than three quarters are charged with non-violent or minor offences.

'Lacking Conviction: The rise of the women's remand population' says that very few women are charged with sufficiently serious crimes to require custody and too little is known of the problems they face to prove that the deprivation of liberty is necessary. Whilst in prison their lives are damaged by loss of homes, job prospects and contact with their families.

The report says that women on remand constitute one of the fastest growing groups among the prison population. It notes:

  • There was a 196% increase in the number of women remanded into custody between 1992 and 2002 compared to a 52% increase for men.
  • Of the 12,000 women sent to prison in 2002 two-thirds were on remand.
  • More women are remanded into custody for theft and handling stolen goods than any other crime.
  • Following trial 59 per cent do not receive a custodial sentence and one in five is acquitted.
  • Four out of ten remanded women have received help or treatment for mental health in the year before being sent to prison and a quarter say they have injected drugs in the month before custody.

The report highlights the fact that once in prison women receive inadequate support. They do not get the drug treatment or mental health care they require, are confined to their cells for long hours and have limited opportunities to stay in touch with family. The provision of bail information has broken down in many prisons.

It concludes that custodial remand is used too frequently by the courts due to unacceptable failures to gather, present and transfer information about the needs and experiences of vulnerable women. There are also breakdowns in bail support in the community, a scarcity of court liaison and diversion schemes and gaps in healthcare and housing provision geared to the needs of women.

The report recommends:

  • Custodial remand must be reserved for those charged with serious or violent offences.
  • The Government must conduct a wide-ranging review of the use of remand and bail in England and Wales.
  •  A national network of small, local women-only supervisions centres must be established to work with women who come into contact with the criminal justice system. These centres should provide women with multi-agency support and should replace prison custody for all women except those whose offences demonstrate a serious danger to society.
  •  An increase in the provision and an improvement in the quality of court based diversion schemes for women with serious mental health problems.
  •  An improvement in the provision of information to the courts, particularly adequate social, psychiatric and probation reports, prior to taking a decision to deny bail.

Prison Reform Trust Director Juliet Lyon, stated:

"There is clear evidence that, instead of getting the support they need, vulnerable women are being jailed due to breakdowns at every point in the criminal justice system. Sorting out the needless use of remand would reduce the women's prison population at a stroke".