UKPAC works with the Prison Reform Trust to help women caught up in the criminal justice system. The Transforming Lives document has a single aim: fewer women sent to prison across the UK. To achieve this we seek systems change that will:
improve and strengthen the governance of women’s justice
promote problem solving justice especially for women whose offending is linked to abuse, trauma and coercive relationships
strengthen pathways into mental health and social care
promote non-custodial options and outcomes for mothers of dependent children
reduce the use of custodial remand
reduce the number and proportion of BAME and foreign national women in prison
end prosecution of trafficked women
strengthen multi-agency collaboration in local areas with greater use of early intervention and community orders for women.
give a voice to women with direct experiences of the criminal justice system
re-balance expenditure away from prisons and in favour of community-based women’s support services.
This is a tall order for an organisation with no legislative power, but it is amazing how far we have come since this document was published. The Ministry of Justice Female Offender Strategy was published on 28 June 2018. We like to think that our lobbying contributed to this document supporting most of these objectives. Thus by committing to reducing women’s imprisonment and recognising women’s needs and vulnerabilities within the criminal justice system. However, not enough funding and no timetable to drive it. We need to pressure government to adequately fund women’s support services and to influence the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. If we all lobby, we are more likely to effect change.