In the summer of 2012, The Justice Select Committee launched an Inquiry on Women Offenders… but what does that mean?
The Justice Select Committee is a group of MPs who have been appointed to examine what the Ministry of Justice does and check that it is doing its job properly. They can choose to look at any issue they want and in 2012 they chose to focus on women in the criminal justice system.
The Committee asked for information about:
The nature and effectiveness of the Ministry of Justice’s strategy for women offenders and those at risk of offending
The nature and effectiveness of Ministry of Justice governance structures for women’s offending.
The extent to which work to address the multiple and complex needs of women offenders is integrated across Government
The extent to which the gender equality duty has become a lever for mainstream service commissioners - outside of the criminal justice system - to provide services which tackle the underlying causes of female offending
The suitability of the women’s custodial estate and prison regimes
The volume, range, quality, and sustainability of community provision for female offenders, including approved premises
The availability of appropriate provision for different groups of women offenders, including, under 18s, women with children, foreign nationals and black, asian and minority ethnic women, and those with mental health problems.
They asked people to send in written evidence. After they collected their evidence they wrote a report. They have the power to demand that government ministers and officials come and explain what they have been doing. Once the report is finished the government ministers will have to respond to the Committee to say what they are going to do with the Committee’s recommendations.
The role of women affected by the criminal justice system
It is really important that the Committee hears from women who know what the criminal justice system is like because of their experience. Many of you gave evidence directly to the Committee or wrote to us to send a response based on the information sent.
What we did with the information you sent
We gathered information from lots of women and pulled it together into one response to send to the Committee.
We also gathered a few women together to go down to parliament and speak directly to the committee.
Read Voices from Prison
- the report we sent to the committee - here
The final report
In July 2013, the committee finally published their findings in a report called Women Offenders: After the Corston report. Read the full report here