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The pattern of women’s offending is very different to men and poses a lower level of risk to the public.
Women prisoners are much more likely to be solely responsible for the care of children and the maintenance of a home than male prisoners. Because of this, prison impacts disproportionately harshly on many women prisoners, often resulting in the loss of a home and serious disruption to the lives of their children.
The huge difference in size between the male and female prison populations means the specific needs of women prisoners have been overlooked (there are more than 70,000 men in prison). The small number of women’s prisons creates logistical problems, and women prisoners are likely to be held further from home than men.
Women prisoners suffer a more severe range of social exclusion problems than men, particularly high levels of abuse and domestic violence and mental health problems. Prison is known to have more serious psychological implications for women. Self-injury is very common throughout women's prisons.