Skip Content

Inquiry into women’s health and well-being in prisons

APPG on Women in the Penal System Inquiry into women's health and well-being in prisons

The APPG on Women in the Penal System is conducting an inquiry into growing evidence that prisons have a damaging impact on women’s health and well-being.

The inquiry has heard evidence from expert witnesses and is considering what steps should be taken to improve women’s health and prevent harm.

As well as examining how imprisonment can affect physical and mental health, the APPG is investigating to what extent prisons promote healthy lifestyles and provide nutritious food.

It is looking at how prisons promote well-being and support the specific and diverse needs of women, many of whom have been victims of crime themselves.

Women account for about 5 per cent of the prison population in England and Wales. There were more than 7,000 receptions of women into prison in the 12 months to the end of September 2020. During this period the number of incidents of self-injury recorded in women’s prisons rose by 8 per cent.

Read the briefing paper on women’s health and well-being

Oral Evidence

Meeting and oral evidence session 2 March 2021

Meeting and oral evidence session 7 July 2021

Meeting and oral evidence session 26 October 2021

Written evidence

The following individuals and organisations have submitted written evidence to the APPG on Women in the Penal System Inquiry into women’s health and wellbeing in prisons:

Dr Laura Abbott, University of Hertfordshire

Birth Companions


Dr Lucy Baldwin, De Montfort University

The Disabilities Trust

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons


The Nuffield Trust

Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (submitted in confidence)

Prison Reform Trust

Revolving Doors Agency

For further information about the inquiry please email


Please note this is is not an official webpage of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The APPG inquiry will express the views of the group.

  • Join the Howard League

    We are the world's oldest prison charity, bringing people together to advocate for change.

    Join us and make your voice heard
  • Support our work

    We safeguard our independence and do not accept any funding from government.

    Make a donation