Hundreds of UK women are wrongly imprisoned

Large numbers of women who pose no threat to society are in jail, according to a new study

Hundreds of UK women remain wrongly imprisoned, according to a study.

Two years ago ministers signed up to new UN standards for the treatment of women offenders, known as the ‘Bangkok Rules’.

However, the first analysis into how the UK has performed since has condemned the government after finding hundreds of women who pose no threat to society remain in jail.

The human rights of children with jailed mothers are also not being taken into account, the report compiled by campaign group Women in Prison says.

The mental health of jailed woman is also inadequately treated, with ‘shocking levels’ of self-harm persisting among female prisoners. In 2011 there were 9,000 of self-harm cases, meaning women account for fifth of UK prison self-harm cases despite making up only five per cent of the prison population.

Rachel Halford, director of Women in Prison, said: ‘There are still too many women unnecessarily imprisoned, too many women hurting themselves in prison and too many women reoffending on release.’

A government review of women’s prisons looks to be completed by the summer. Justice minister Helen Grant said: ‘The government is committed to addressing women’s offending and providing services for their specific needs, making sure they are rehabilitated whether they serve sentences in prison or the community.

‘We are putting in place measures that ensure crimes are met with proportionate punishment that is both tough and meaningful in order to reduce reoffending and promote rehabilitation.’

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