Not only is prison ineffective in preventing reoffending in women and is expensive, it can be extremely damaging to the female’s well-being and their families. The effect that a custodial sentence has on women is arguably far worse than for men. Women are often not prepared or equipped for their life following their prison sentence; due to the fact that women are more likely to be lone parents before prison (Social Exclusion Unit, 2002), are more likely to leave prison homeless and unemployed (Wedderburn, 2000), and are more likely to lose access of their children whilst serving their sentence (Corston, 2007). Statistics from 2010 showed that around 17,000 children become separated from their mother by imprisonment (Wilks-Wiffen, 2011). This can be absolutely devastating to not only the female offender, but to their innocent children too. Moreover, due to the small number of women’s prisons, the average distance that women are sent away from their homes is around 60 miles (Women in Prison, 2013). Therefore, even if the women are lucky enough to keep in contact with their children, it can be tremendously hard to organise visitation and uphold their family ties. Considering these facts, it is hard to fathom why women are still being sent to prison for committing a non-violent crime where they are arguably more of a risk to themselves than to anyone else.
Although male prisoners have previously experience childhood abuse, have been in the care system, have suffered from a mental illness, for women these occurrences are even more apparent. The Prison Reform Trust statistics, in 2014, showed that 53% of women in prison have experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse compared to only 27% of men. In addition, 48% of women have att...
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...ms to help them break the cycle of offending and other alternatives could be more beneficial to this problem. Not only could community-based treatments give them the facilities to desist from crime, it also is more cost-effective, keeps them with their children and prevents them from suffering further psychological and physical harm that they could endure in prison.
Baroness Corston’s report in 2007 presented in this proposal is a step in the right direction. However, her movement lost momentum following the introduction of the coalition government. The introduction of the TR agenda in 2015 means that both prisons and community-based treatments will potentially face a future of more financial cuts. Therefore, it is critical that pressure is continued to be put on the state regarding this proposal to help secure the future of women and prevent further disadvantage.
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