This Policy paper outlines the governments plans for managing female offenders.
The three documents included in this are Women's Custodial Estate Review, Stocktake of Women's Services for Offenders in the Community and Government's response to the Justice Committee's Second Report of Session 2013-14: Female Offenders. The Government's response to the Justice Committee's Second Report of Session 2013-14: Female Offenders touches on the findings of the Estate Review and Community Services Stocktake.
Below are summaries of the sections of the document which concern children: - Sentencing and the impact of imprisonment on dependent children, how other services can be notified and how child caring responsibilities are to be taken into account in sentencing decisions. This is to be taken into account by the Advisory board and a comparative look at international practice which safeguards children is noted as being of benefit. - Funding for community services and commissioning agreements are a concern; especially important is the preservation of services for vulnerable women and children. The Women's Custodial Estate Review recommendations which note proximity to dependent children as a priority are accepted. The maintenance of family ties throughout sentences will be seen as the new way of working. - Government also recognises research that suggests that supportive family relationships can contribute to reduced re-offending. The Review recommends establishing multipurpose strategic hubs in densely populated areas which can hold family visits, the number of which should be increased across the estate in preparation for release. Increasing other methods for maintaing contact are also recommended. - The Government maintains that the Troubled Families programme should not hold support to children whose parents are already involved in the criminal justice system. The Women's Custodial Estate Review holds one relevant recommendation not already noted above which is that the mother and baby unit at HMP Holloway should close in order to reduce over-supply without affecting closeness to home. There would be a further reduction of ten places should HMP Askham Grange close. The Stocktake of Women's Services for Offenders in the Community notes the many Probation Trusts which have worked collaboratively with partners such as children's centres, women's centres and community centres.
Read more about the new approach to managing female offenders: