Women make up less than 5% of the prison population, but they are more likely than male prisoners to be serving short sentences for non-violent offences. Most of them have experienced abuse, and many are mothers of dependent children. This has a destructive impact on women and children, while doing very little to prevent crime and keep people safe.
On top of this, female prisoners are more likely than male prisoners to report poor mental health and problems with alcohol and drugs. Indeed, self-harm is also far more prevalent in women’s prisons, with 2,828 incidents per 1,000 prisoners in the 12 months to March 2019, compared to 596 per 1,000 in men’s prisons.
This helps support the case that as most women in prison are vulnerable people, they should be only sent to prison when absolutely necessary.
Far too many women are sent to prison on short sentences for non-violent offences.
Tough, community-based sentences would be far more effective at preventing reoffending, and helping offenders turn their lives around.