Police are under pressure to give out fewer cautions after it was announced [by then-justice secretary Chris Grayling] that they should be used more sparingly; now women who would have been issued a penalty are being arrested and taken to court.
Due to this, arrests of women have risen by as much as 50 per cent in some [geographical] areas, as women are more likely to commit offences which would have previously attracted a caution, such as shoplifting and low-level anti-social behaviour.
Prison Reform Trust has recently done some interesting work on women in prison, and their programme to reduce women’s imprisonment is challenging the current system as it is not gender informed. They have said that arresting women and sending them to prison is more likely to cause harm to their children, and does not tackle the most common underlying causes of women’s offending, such as poverty, abusive relationships, and addiction. Read our brief article highlighting the key points from one of their reports.
“The criminal justice system has been used as a safety net, when what is needed is treatment and support.”
– Jenny Earle, Director or Prison Reform Trust’s programme to reduce women’s imprisonment.
The full article is available here.