Mental Health, Autism & Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts

Information for magistrates, district judges and court staff

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d. Alternatives to custody

d. Alternatives to custody

Evaluations of community services for women have shown that they can help to reduce reoffending, provide effective programmes, activity and support for women who offend and for women who are at risk of offending.

  • Outcomes for women who are sent to prison are worse than for those given community orders: 56% of women released from prison reoffend within a year compared to 26% of those commencing a community order; and 95% of women successfully complete their community order or licence period.
  • A women’s police triage project in Hull found a 46% reduction in the re-arrest rate of women over a 12-month follow up period. The success of this scheme has led to Humberside Police piloting a similar model for adult young offenders.
  • Women’s Centres can provide the help that women need to stop offending; meaning that women achieve positive outcomes in multiple areas, such as health, education, relationships, resilience, employment and social integration – as well as reduced reoffending.
  • HM Inspectorate of Probation’s thematic review of the provision and quality of services in the community for women who offend (2016) found that:
Women’s Centres are particularly vulnerable and some have already lost funding, yet they have an important role to play. We found cases where they had been pivotal in turning women away from crime and helping them to rebuild their lives.

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