Prison Places for Women

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 26th May 2021.

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Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Labour, Lewisham East

What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on plans to increase the number of prison places for women.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Investing in the women’s custodial estate will improve conditions for female prisoners through modern, gender-specific and trauma-informed design. It will further ensure capacity is in place to give effect to sentences imposed by the independent courts.

Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Labour, Lewisham East

When mothers are imprisoned for minor offences, the separation and loss for the child are detrimental to their wellbeing. The charity Women in Prison tells us that the most effective way to tackle the causes of crime and to prevent women from reoffending is to invest in women’s centres. Given that the Government’s own female offender strategy pledges to reduce the number of women in prison, why are they proposing to invest £150 million on new female prison places, and what representation has the Minister made to recommit to reducing the number of women in prison?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

It is important that we continue to invest in women’s centres in the community, and that is exactly what we are doing. For the very reason that the hon. Lady makes about keeping relationships with the family, part of the money that she refers to will go to providing accommodation so that individuals can make family visits to those women sentenced to custody, to keep those relationships going. Prisons need to be a place of security, but they must also be a place of humanity, rehabilitation and hope, and that is what we are investing in.