Mental Health, Autism & Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts

Information for magistrates, district judges and court staff

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b. Impact of imprisonment

b. Impact of imprisonment

  • Women are imprisoned further from home and receive fewer visits. This adversely affects their ability to maintain relationships and contact with home.
  • Women are more likely to harm themselves whilst in prison. In the year ending June 2016, 297 women self-harmed per 1,000 prisoners, compared to 115 men.
  • In the year ending September 2016, 19 women had died in custody, of which 8 were self-inflicted. This equates to 4.9 deaths in custody per 1,000 women, an increase from 1.8 the previous year.
  • 60% of women do not have homes to go to on their release from prison. In the absence of safe and decent accommodation it is much harder to find work and, for mothers, to be reunited with their children.
“We want to see fewer women in custody and to promote a greater focus on early intervention, diversion and multiagency approaches to ensure that the justice system can take proper account of the specific needs of women.”  House of Commons Justice Committee, 2015

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