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England & Wales: Preventing unnecessary criminalisation of women.

14th July 2015

The aim of this group is to increase knowledge and awareness around women in the criminal justice system while also pushing for the implementation of the recommendations of The Corston Report: A review of women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system ( Home Office, 2007). This enquiry stemmed from the conclusions of previous APPG enquires which concluded that the majority of women in the criminal justice system didn't need to be there and that women are criminalised too easily and that the problems they face ought to be addressed by other agencies at a much earlier stage. Some significant findings of this report include:

- The APPG heard that many women involved in the criminal justice system had been victimised and had significant and multiple unmet needs.

- Evidence submitted showed that many women were victims of abuse, manipulation and violence and that there offending behaviour was in relation to this.

- Sexual exploitation and abuse had a large role to play in the criminalisation of many women and too often, instead of being recognised as victims and supported, women were brought into the justice system and punished.

The Report concludes with an example of best practice in relation to women in prison from the Greater Manchester Pathfinder for Women. This whole system approach prevents women from coming into the Justice system unnecessarily and keeps those within it at the lowest level. The governing board has a build in a data collection and analysis from the beginning to enable  them to track the use and impact of the services, allowing them to respond to any unintended consequences such as a rise in female inmates in a quick, effective manner. It is an impressive project which should be supported financially and politically and used as a model of best practice in other areas, including Ireland.

Read the report in full here:

viewed here