1. ITV Report

Realistic investment call to tackle Wales 'badge of shame' on women prisoners

Credit: PA Images

Guidance has been published by the Welsh Government on a new approach to youth justice and female offending in Wales

It has been developed jointly with HM Prison & Probation Service and the Youth Justice Board Cymru.

It aims to divert people away from crime and to support those who find themselves in the criminal justice system.

Whilst the UK Government is responsible for justice in Wales, many of the services helping people avoid crime and to help rehabilitate offenders like health, housing, education and social services, are devolved to Wales.

Credit: PA Images

The blueprints we are publishing today are timely; they will help address many issues around female offending and youth justice, including those raised last week by the Welsh Affairs Select Committee specifically around youth justice and the creation of residential support for women in Wales.

Too frequently people are caught up in the criminal justice system because they have been failed earlier in their lives, experiencing adverse childhood experiences sometimes well into their adult lives.

The Welsh Government is committed to working with a range of partner organisations on the delivery of the blueprints – an ongoing collaborative approach is key.

– Jane Hutt AM, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip

This is welcome recognition of the need for urgent action to improve community solutions for women currently imprisoned a long way from home for minor offences, their offending often linked to histories of abuse and trauma.

Last year, 69% of the women sentenced to prison in Wales received a sentence of less than 6 months, overwhelmingly for non-violent offences.

The strategy, accompanied by an implementation plan, promises a more positive future for these women and the children from whom they are commonly separated, with damaging inter-generational consequences.

If Wales is to lose its ‘badge of shame’ for having one of the highest rates of women’s imprisonment in western Europe, there must be realistic investment by both Wales and Westminster in women’s centres and support services across Wales.

– Jenny Earle, Prison Reform Trust