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SPOTLIGHTS: International Women’s Day

  • Date: 7 Mar 2024

  • Location: Online

Join us on Thursday 7 March as we lift the lid on women’s prisons. Our panel will share their expertise and answer your questions about the reality of life for women in prison.

More than 15 years since the damning Corston report, the picture for women in prison is worse than ever. Women who get caught up in the criminal justice system are among the most vulnerable in society. The government recognises that most women pose a low to medium risk to the public and that many receive custodial sentences for non-violent offences. Women in prison often have multiple and complex needs, which may be exacerbated in a custodial environment – with the sentence itself often resulting in the dismantling of support systems in the community, including relationships, family ties, housing and employment. This is beyond the damage it wreaks on children, families and communities.

Though the government’s own Female Offender Strategy identifies that prison is inappropriate for many women, the female prison population is rising at a staggering rate. There are 10% more women in prison today than this time last year, compared with a 5% increase in the male estate. And the proportion of women on remand is both higher than in the men’s estate and growing at a faster rate. Vulnerable women are still remanded to custody as a ‘place of safety’, while the government is struggling to keep women in prison safe. Self-harm is rocketing across the women’s estate, but also the children’s estate with unprecedented rates of self-harm among girls. 

Our one-size-fits-all approach to prison for men and women is failing and is particularly failing women and girls. 

We will mark International Women’s Day by speaking to women who have been to prison and work with women in prison, to better understand the realities of life for women behind bars and to discuss the routes to long-overdue change. 

This online event will be hosted by our Chief Executive Andrea Coomber KC (Hon.). The panel will include: 

  • Jules Rowan, Host of the Life After Prison podcast. 
  • Paula Harriott, former prisoner, mum and Head of Prisoner Engagement, Prison Reform Trust. 
  • Sonya Ruparel, Chief Executive, Women in Prison. 

This event will take the form of a panel discussion, so please share your ideas and ask questions. 

Book your place for this free event, on Thursday 7 March, 1pm to 2pm, online via Zoom. 


About the Howard League Spotlights series 

Howard League Spotlights is a series of events aimed at lifting the lid on prisons and finding more effective ways to reduce crime and keep communities safe. Each event will focus on a particular theme and bring together experts to approach the issue from different perspectives. Spotlights events are free of charge, but if you would like to support our work, please consider becoming a Howard League member. 

Bookings through the website for this event have now closed. To book a place, please email Katie Logue.

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