Offenders: Females

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Conservative, Gloucester

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the female offender strategy.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The Female Offender Strategy set out our vision to see fewer women coming into the criminal justice system and in custody, and better conditions for those women who need to be in custody. The strategy launched an ambitious programme of work which will take will take several years to deliver. We are committed to monitoring progress over time and taking action to deliver the outcomes we set out to achieve.

We have taken stock of progress in the first year and published an update on our progress in a Written Ministerial Statement on 27 June 2019: https://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-06-27/HCWS1662 . A number of key achievements are set out below:

• In December 2018, we published a new Women’s Policy Framework to replace Prison Order 4800. It sets out the duties, rules and general guidance for prison and probation staff who work with women

  • A new modular training package, POWER, has been devised and rolled out to develop the skills and knowledge of staff working with women in a custodial and community setting.
  • New female pathways have been introduced by NHS England within their Liaison and Diversion services.
  • On 18 June 2019, we published Lord Farmer’s Review on the importance of family ties for women. We commissioned Lord Farmer to undertake a follow-up review into the importance of family ties for female offenders.
  • Across government, we have invested £5m in women’s centres and other community services for women in 2018/19 and 2019/20. This includes funding to support the almost 60% of female offenders who have experienced domestic abuse. This funding will help to sustain and enhance existing services, and will create new services where there is currently a gap.

We continue to monitor the impact of the strategy and be scrutinised on progress in its delivery through the Advisory Board on Female Offenders, a minister-led board of external stakeholders.

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