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

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

  • 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.

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