Women in prison: the stats unlockedPosted: June 24, 2015
Who are the women in our prisons are how did they get there?
On 19 June 2015 there were 3,879 women in prison in England and Wales, compared to 81,864 men.
The number of women in prison nearly trebled between 1993 and 2005. This has started to slowly reverse, but there are still over 2,000 more women in prison today than there were just twenty years ago.
Simon Hughes said in February this year:
“There are so many women who ought not to be in prison. About half ought not to be there at all.”
What sort of sentences do women serve?
- Most women are in prison for non-violent offences. In 2014, 41 per cent of women were committed for theft and handling stolen goods.
- Most women entering prison serve very short sentences. In 2014, 58 per cent of sentenced women entering prison served six months or less.
Who are the women in our prisons?
- 53 percent of women report having experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse as a child. That’s compared to 27 percent of men.
- 46 percent have a history of domestic abuse.
- 49 percent of women suffer from anxiety and depression, compared to 19 percent of the female population in the UK.
What is the impact of having a mother in prison?
- Only 9 percent of children whose mothers are in prison are cared for by their fathers in their mothers’ absence.
- Parental imprisonment approximately trebles the risk for anti social or delinquent behaviour by their children.
- Women are often held further away from their families, making visiting difficult and expensive. The average distance is 60 miles, for many it’s considerably more. Read our post by Vicky Pryce here on the importance of communication for women in prison.
If community alternatives to prison reduced reoffending by just six percent, the state would recoup the investment required to achieve this in just one year.
So what is the alternative? Listen to our audio interviews here to find out what the experts say on removing women from prison.