Menopausal Women in the Prison Estate

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 8th June 2022.

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Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Labour, Swansea East

What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on access to support and treatment for menopausal women in the prison estate.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

I can reassure the hon. Lady that Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service is working with NHS England to improve the treatment and support available to women in the prison service, including menopausal women, as part of the national women’s prison health and social care review.

Photo of Carolyn Harris Carolyn Harris Labour, Swansea East

The latest figures show that 39% of female prisoners are over 40, and a further 38% are aged between 30 and 39. Many of them will either be menopausal or perimenopausal already, or reach that stage during their sentence. As we know that menopause can have a significant impact on physical and mental health, including influencing behaviours, does the Minister agree that a menopause strategy within Her Majesty’s prisons would be both productive and beneficial?

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

I thank the co-chair of the menopause taskforce. We discussed this in our taskforce meeting yesterday, and we have agreed to invite Ministers from the Justice team to work on this issue. The Secretary of State for Justice is sitting beside me, and I am sure he has heard the hon. Lady’s words.