December 10, 2008: Government Respond To Corston Report
Maria Eagle MP has set out the progress made in the year since the government's response to the Corston report on Women with Particular Vulnerabilities in the Criminal Justice System. Areas of progress include:
- A commitment to provide additional resources in the New Year to divert vulnerable women who are not serious or dangerous offenders from custody.
- The launch of a pilot on a conditional caution designed specifically for women, which commits women to attend a Together Women centre for a full needs assessment, providing them with an opportunity to address the causes of their offending.
- The introduction of the new arrangements for
full searching in all women's prisons.
Guidance issued to probation officers encouraging greater use of female Approved Premises in order to provide better support, rehabilitation and interventions in the community.
- The independent Sentencing Advisory Panels consultation paper that sets out the overarching principles of sentencing which contains an important discussion of the principles of sentencing of women offenders.
- Lord Bradley's review into the diversion of offenders with mental health problems or learning disabilities is due to report to government early in the New Year.
- The cross-departmental Criminal Justice Women's Strategy Unit now includes representatives from the Attorney General's Office, Government Equalities Office and the Department of Health.
Maria Eagle, Ministerial Champion for Women in the Criminal Justice System said:
'I am pleased to report on the significant actions which we have been able to deliver against the commitments made in the government's response and the wider work we are undertaking to take this agenda further forward beyond the Corston commitments.'
Baroness Corston was commissioned in 2006 by the Home Office to conduct a review of women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system, following a series of six self-inflicted deaths of women prisoners between August 2002 and August 2003. The Corston Report was published in March 2007.
The Report called for a radical change in the way women are treated throughout the whole of the criminal justice system, treating women both holistically and individually – a woman centred approach.
The Government response published in December 2007 accepted 40 out of the 43 recommendations and made a range of commitments across Government departments to take these forward. Progress in the first six months was reported in June 2008.