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Women and Prison

Cooperation with the Prison Reform Trust

Our national federation, Sigbi, has worked with the Prison Reform Trust for several years. The aim is to improve the conditions and outcomes for women affected by the criminal justice system.  Soroptimists across the country contributed to the national research that resulted in the Reducing Women’s Imprisonment report. 

Background

The number of women in prison doubled between 1995 and 2010. Most women in prison serve short prison sentences for non-violent offences. Many have been victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.  There are few women’s prisons –  this means that  female offenders are most often in prisons far away from home.  In 95% of cases, any children in the family will have to leave the family home to live with grandparents or be taken into care.

Application of the government’s strategy

The Ministry of Justice published its Strategy for Female Offenders in June 2018.  One of the key measures to implement was the use of Women’s Centres to help women deal with the root causes of their offending. 

There are not yet enough centres of this kind in the country.   So Women in Prison (WIP) organised a Mass Lobby in Parliament on 26 June 2019. They wanted to get the attention of MPs about theimportant problem of Women’s Centres.   Some of our members participated in the Mass Lobby in London.  In response to the WIP campaigning , there was a debate in Westminster Hall on 24 July 2019.  Read the Hansard record of the debate here.

More on Women in Prison here.

Women’s Support Centre, Woking

Woking has the only Women’s Support Centre in Surrey,  On 26 July 2019, two of our members represented SI Woking & District during a visit to the Women’s Centre in Woking with local MP Jonathan Lord.

We intend to continue to support the Women’s Suport Centre in Woking.