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Women in the Penal System

Our work to ensure fairness for women

A prisoner and an officer talk in Styal prison for women

We want women to be able to reach their full potential, to contribute to their families and to their communities. Too many vulnerable women are being swept up into the criminal justice system when it is not necessary or appropriate.

The reasons that women end up in the criminal justice system or in prison are often complex. Nearly two thirds of women in the criminal justice system have experienced domestic abuse. Many have experienced childhood trauma, mental health problems or homelessness.

Contact with the criminal justice system can make things worse, not better for women. It can mean women lose their jobs and their homes, making it harder to address the problems which brought them into contact with the police or the courts. A criminal conviction and particularly a prison sentence can affect a women’s ability to care for her family, causing lasting harm to her children and grandchildren.

We are working to stem the flow of women into the criminal justice system.

Arresting the entry of women into the criminal justice system

The Howard League is conducting a three year programme to reduce the arrests of women.

Find out more about the programme to reduce arrests

Improving outcomes for women at sentence

We are working to ensure that the sentences women receive are a fair response to the crimes they have committed but at the same time enable them to rebuild their lives.

Find our more about our work on sentencing

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Women in the Penal System

The Howard League provides administrative assistance to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Women in the Penal System, chaired by Baroness Corston, Kate Green MP and Victoria Prentis MP. The APPG works to ensure high quality debate and discussion on issues around women in the justice system in Parliament and continues to push for the full implementation of the Corston Report recommendations.

Read more about the APPG here


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