Mental Health, Autism & Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts

Information for magistrates, district judges and court staff

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e. The reform agenda for women in contact with criminal justice services-Film Clip

e. The reform agenda for women in contact with criminal justice services-Film Clip

  • In England and Wales, the Ministerial Advisory Board on Female Offenders provides the mechanism for a cross-government strategy to reduce women’s imprisonment. The judiciary are represented on this Board, including the Magistrates’ Association.
  • Section 10 of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 2014 requires the specific needs of women to be taken into account in the planning of supervision and rehabilitation arrangements.
  • The Ministry of Justice Prison Safety and Reform white paper (November 2016) refers to a forthcoming women’s strategy, which will look at how the Ministry of Justice can: 
 …reduce the number of women offending and ending up in custody, including through early and targeted interventions.
  • New technology is being considered that may enable more women with young children to serve their sentence in the community.
  • The government has committed to a ‘whole systems approach’ in England and Wales to achieve coherence between policy, commissioning and service delivery across, and between, criminal justice, health and social care, welfare, children’s and other community services. Increasingly, this has focused on particular support for women at the point of arrest, sentencing, and on release from prison.
  • The government strategy, Violence Against Women & Girls 2016-2020, recognises the need to support female offenders affected by domestic abuse.

Film clip (06:23 mins)

The Community Sentence Treatment Requirement Programme (CSTR) in Northampton is for women only and has been developed to explore why the use of treatment requirements, made at the point of sentence in court, are underused compared to other community requirements. There are three treatment requirements available, and these are: drug, alcohol and mental health (DRR, ATR, MHTR).

The CSTR programme is a partnership between the Department of Health, Ministry of Justice, NHS England, and Public Health England. A joint protocol has been developed with the intention of increasing the use of the CSTR, as well as understanding the reasons why treatment requirements are under-used.

There are a number of CSTR testbed sites, one of which is in Northamptonshire and is specifically for women. It is chaired by the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, and delivered through the The Good Loaf Café C2C Social Enterprise and the local liaison and diversion service. Other partners include:Northamptonshire County Council,Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, BeNCH Community Rehabilitation Company, the University of Northampton, National Probation Service, HM Courts & Tribunals Service, and the Prison Reform Trust.

The Good Loaf Café is a social business that provides real employment opportunities for vulnerable local women to help them break the cycle of poverty, unemployment and offending. By working through our structured work placements female offenders gain practical skills and experience in a real work environment.  Our team is made up of paid staff, volunteers and women on work placements and we all work together, united in our passion to produce the finest bread and baked products in Northamptonshire and committed to improving the lives of those who have not had an easy time.

 Alongside the clinical interventions within the treatment requirement, women are supported through a 12-week work programme, on successful completion of which, they acquire a Level 1 AIM Award in employability, a Level 1 AIM Award in volunteering and a Level 2 Certificate in food safety.

To find out more, contact or 01604 824 080.



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