Skip Content

Publications · Prisons, Women

Prison for their own protection: The case for repeal

  • ISBN: 978-1-911114-50-5

  • Published: 2020

  • Pages: 10

  • Publisher: The Howard League for Penal Reform


Prison for their own protection: The case for repeal

Under the Bail Act 1976, the courts can remand an adult to prison for their ‘own protection’, or in a child’s case for their own ‘welfare’, without that person being convicted or sentenced – even in cases where the charge they face could not result in a prison sentence.

This briefing  by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System (APPG) states that the use of prison in this way “has no place in a modern justice system” and the case for repeal is overwhelming.

It explains how the power is not used heavily, but when it is, it tends to be employed to detain the most vulnerable of defendants, predominantly those who have been let down by failings of care and support in the community.

People on remand are especially vulnerable given the uncertainty of their position and the fact that they tend to be held in overcrowded local prisons where conditions are particularly bad.

Women and children are particularly at risk. The rate of self-injury among women in prison is almost five times that of men, and the rate of self-injury among children rose by 66 per cent in the year to March 2020.


  • Join us

    Add your voice to our movement for change. Every voice counts and we hope that you will add yours.

    Join us today
  • Support our work

    Everything we do is focused on achieving less crime, safer communities, fewer people in prison. We need you to act now for penal reform.

    Ways to support