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CSPS Supervision 8 - Race and Gender Issues I. WOMEN AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE Statistics on women and the criminal justice system - Ministry of Justice (2016)
? In general, females appear to have been substantially underrepresented as offenders throughout the CJS compared with males. o This is particularly true in relation to the most serious offence types and sentences, though patterns by sex vary between individual offences. o Females were also typically underrepresented among practitioners in the CJS and among victims of violent crime, although they were more likely than males to have been a victim of intimate violence or child abuse. o Trends over time for each sex often mirror overall trends, though this is not always the case.
? According to the Crime Survey of England and Wales, there was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of women and men that were victims of crime in 2015/16. o Women were more likely to have been subject to abuse as children, particularly sexual assault. They were less likely to be victims of violent crime in general, but much more likely to be victims of sexual assault or domestic violence - and female homicide victims were far more likely than their male equivalents to have a current or former partner be the principal suspect for their death.
? Less than a quarter of those given a penalty notice for disorder (22%) or caution (24%) were female. o Women were underrepresented to an even greater extent among those arrested (16%), who are typically being dealt with for more serious offences than those dealt with out of court. For both out of court disposals and arrests, females were particularly likely to have been dealt with for theft offences.
? Over the last decade, the number of females prosecuted has risen by 6%, driven by increases in prosecutions for TV license evasion, while the number of males prosecuted has fallen by a third. o Nevertheless, in line with police activity, females were still substantially underrepresented among those prosecuted, at just over a quarter of the total (27%).
? Females made up a quarter of first time offenders, but only one in seven of those dealt with who had a previous caution or conviction. o Males were more likely to be sentenced to immediate custody and to receive custodial sentences of 6 months or longer than females with a similar criminal history. o 3/5 of offences committed by women with 15 or more previous cautions or convictions related to theft, compared with only two-fifths for men. Although males were more likely
??to reoffend, females had a higher number of proven reoffences on average per reoffender. o Females were slightly more likely than males to reoffend following a short custodial sentence, but considerably less likely to reoffend following longer ones. Women represented only 5% of the prison population, a proportion that has fallen over the last decade. However, in line with sentencing patterns, women were typically serving shorter sentences and represented almost 9% of those admitted to custody. o Female prisoners reported feeling better supported in prison, but less safe, and they were more likely to self-harm and selfharm more frequently than men. o There were lower rates of assault in female prisons, but a slightly higher proportion of disciplinary incidents relative to the population. o Women typically had shorter periods of probation and fewer requirements. They were also more likely than men to participate in education in prison, to be granted home detention curfew if eligible, to make a success of release on temporary license and to have their probation orders terminated early for good progress. A range of differences between the sexes could be seen when individual offences are examined; typical behaviours and outcomes vary between men and women at an offence level. o Trends also vary over time at an offence level: for example, women were becoming less likely to receive an immediate custodial sentence for indictable drug offence, while males were not. o In line with overall trends, however, the differences that exist at offence level usually represent either less involvement or less serious involvement in the CJS for women than men. Over a quarter of practitioners, but represented more than half of those working in the Ministry of Justice, Crown Prosecution Service and female prison estate. o Female representation among senior staff was considerably lower than in the general workforce for all CJS organisations, but proportions have been rising. Provides data on: o Victims o Police activity o Defendants o Offender characteristics o Offenders: under supervision or in custody o Offence analysis o Practitioners
A thematic inspection of the provision and quality of services in the community for women who offend - HM Inspectorate (2016)Women's centres are particularly vulnerable and some have already lost funding, yet they have an important role to play. We found
cases where they had been pivotal in turning women away from crime and helping them to rebuild their lives, but often women who offend chose not to get involved, for a number of reasons. o In our view, women's centres need both funding and strategic support, so that they fulfil their potential with this group of women.
? Almost a decade after the Corston report, we found funding reductions and uncertainties, a lack of strategic or operational focus on outcomes for women, and no better monitoring and evaluation than when we reported in 2011.
? Key facts: o 14% - Proportion of convictions for indictable offences involving women. o 10% - Proportion of offenders being supervised by the probation services who were women. o 12.4 months - Average length of a community order for women, compared to 15.1 months for men. o 25% - Proportion of community orders for women which were for an offence of theft and handling, compared to 13% for me. o 73% - Proportion of community orders for women which ran their full course or were terminated early for good progress, compared to 68% for men. o +20 - Percentage point increase in successful completions for women on community orders since 2006, +17 percentage point increase for men. o 18% - The one-year reoffending rate for women, compared to 26% for men o -2.7% - Percentage point fall in the one-year proven reoffending rate since 2003, compared to -2.0% for men. Executive summary
? Fieldwork for this inspection was conducted between November 2015 and January 2016. The inspection sample consisted of 72 cases of women who had been sentenced to a community order, suspended sentence order or released on licence.
? In 2013/2014 there was PS3.78m funding provided by the National Offender Management Service which was designated for community services for women. o The funds were made available through Probation Trust contracts.
? Earlier this year, in a targeted bidding process, the Ministry of Justice awarded PS200k to five local areas to support the development of a 'Whole System Approach' to women in the criminal justice system.
? Overall, we found a lack of focus on outcomes for women, both strategically and operationally. o Our inspection found that, in the absence of any nationally specified approach, strategic leadership of the management of women in the community varied considerably. o In some areas, senior managers were designated to lead the work with women who had offended. Others had women's team champions or dedicated single points of contact. In other areas, leadership was insufficient. Strategic
??management and accountability for women who had offended lacked clarity and was not a priority. o We found that service provision for women was better in areas where there was dedicated leadership for women's offending. o The knowledge and skills of voluntary sector organisations working with women, and their commitment to wider outcomes, beyond reoffending, was impressive. o We found that less than one in four responsible of officers had received training and guidance in relation to female specific case management. Magistrates and District Judges (sentencers) were generally positive about their working relationships with the National Probation Service staff. o They told us that they were normally able to obtain sufficient information from pre-sentence reports on women, to inform sentencing decision. They commented, however, that reports were not usually female-specific and did not differentiate the needs of women from those of men. o Sentencers lacked information about interventions specifically designed for women, in particular rehabilitation activity requirements and local support services We found some excellent individual examples of work being undertaken by responsible of officers with women, and some very good partnership working. o The quality of work by probation services to reduce offending by women (in both the Community Rehabilitation Companies and National Probation Service), however, varied considerably.
? We found an inconsistent approach to recognising and addressing the gender-specific needs of women who had offended at each part of their process through the criminal justice system. We also found that service provision for women in the community was of varying quality and availability. o The biggest gap in the availability of suitable interventions for women was in relation to accommodation. o We found that most women were offered the opportunity to have a female responsible officer.
? Not all women, however, were offered the opportunity to report, have appointments or undertake their programmes of work in a female-only environment, despite Community Rehabilitation Company contractual requirements to do so where practicable. The work of probation services to manage the risk of harm women posed to others was done well in most cases. o Where there was a predictable or preventable risk of harm to the public, victims, children or staff from women, we found that probation services and partners had taken all reasonable action. Funding was a major concern for women's centres at the time of our inspection.
A number of women's centres had temporary or 'roll-on' contracts, mostly of three months duration. This lead to uncertainty about future funding, staffing and the sustainability of services. o Some excellent and inspirational work was being undertaken within women's centres. Services were gender-specific and sensitive to the needs and diversity of women who offend.
? The proximity of the centres, however, and access to public transport were important factors in determining whether women could benefit from the services on offer.
? In some areas, women had access to women's centres within their communities, providing female-only environments, support and a range of programmes and interventions tailored to their individual needs.
? This was not an option for all women who had offended. Recommendations
? The Ministry of Justice should: o Make clear its strategic policy aims for women who have offended or are likely to reoffend o Make clear the sources and amounts of funding available to providers of services to women who offend, in particular the funds to support women's centres.
? The National Offender Management Service should: o Undertake a national review of compliance against the gender-specific contractual requirements in relation to women who offend, and where necessary hold service providers to account.
? Community Rehabilitation Companies should: o Regularly communicate information about rehabilitation activity requirement provision for women to sentencers, their own responsible officers, the National Probation Service and partner agencies o Make sure information about how the National Probation Service and other commissioners of services may purchase services is clear and well-communicated.
? The National Probation Service should: o Have structures in place to provide timely information to sentencers about the needs of women who offend and the interventions available locally o Make sure that pre-sentence reports take account of the specific needs of women who offend.
? The Community Rehabilitation Companies and National Probation Service should: o Provide clarity and focus to the strategic management, accountability and planning of services for women, for example by appointing a lead senior officer in each area o Develop a greater understanding of the profile of women who offend within the area, in order to inform needs-led responses and approaches to the work delivered o Make sure that responsible officers have appropriate genderspecific training so that they can recognise risk and o
protective factors relating to women's offending, take genderfactors into account when report writing and in determining the most suitable interventions for women o Offer women the opportunity to report, have their appointments, and undertake their programmes of work in a female-only environment where practicable, in order to improve their attendance and remove barriers to engagement o Refer women who offend to women's centres for support and intervention wherever possible and appropriate, making sure that women referred to a women's centre are supported and encouraged in their attendance in order to improve take-up rates o Monitor and evaluate the progress of women during their statutory orders or licences in order to demonstrate what outcomes have been achieved and to identify promising practice. Introduction
? About 1 in 20 prisoners are women.
? Overall, women commit less serious offences and are given shorter sentences than men; 78% of female prison receptions were serving a sentence of less than 12 months, compared to 70% of male prison receptions (Ministry of Justice 2016), and the average length of community orders and suspended sentence orders was 12.4 months and 17.7 months for women, compared to 15.1 months and 18.5 months for men (Offender Management Caseload Statistics, Ministry of Justice 2015).
? The factors consistently related to general recidivism are: antisocial personality (problems with impulse control, emotion regulation and hostility), antisocial peers, antisocial attitudes and substance abuse9. Violent crime is associated with alcohol abuse, while acquisitive crime and soliciting are linked to serious drug abuse.
? Women have lower proven reoffending rates than men.
? A number of researchers have proposed that there are important differences in why women and men turn away from crime. o Young women can offer moral as opposed to instrumental reasons for stopping offending and are more likely to emphasise relational aspects including parental attitudes, experiences of victimisation, the assumption of parental responsibilities and disassociation from offending peers. Underpinning women's moral reasoning is a general ethic of care and responsibility to others.
? Some factors (such as childcare provision or domestic abuse) make participation in probation work more difficult for women than for men, and it is broadly recognised that approaches to tackling women's offending need to be gender-specific.
? In September 2015 the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) identified seven priority needs for support and intervention, based on the best evidence of 'what works' in reducing women's offending, keeping them safe and creating better lives.
? Concerns about the rise in the female prison population in the late 1990's led to a review of the initiatives then existing for working with women.
The profile of women's offending was raised significantly in 2007 with the publication of the Corston Report. o The government Advisory Board for Female Offenders was established in March 2013 alongside the publication of the then coalition government's 'Strategic Objectives for Female Offenders'. o In April 2011, the public sector equality duty came into force, created under the Equality Act 2010.
? Section 10 of the Offender Rehabilitation Act 201418 restated the equality duty, and required the Secretary of State for Justice to consider the particular needs of women. Overall, respondents to our call for evidence were positive about interventions tailored to women's specific needs, but were anxious about future funding and the mainstreaming of existing services for women. They told us: o Women who offend are more likely to have been victims of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, or exploitation. They are more likely to have mental health problems and are more likely to self-harm than men o Women are a distinct group of offenders within the criminal justice system with specific needs that cannot be met through general systems designed with men in mind o Women tend to be lower risk cases: are less likely to be serious or violent offenders, are more likely to be acquisitive offenders, committing offences such as shop theft, or less serious fraud crimes o Interventions that work are less confrontational than some interventions effective for men. They focus upon the future: are optimistic; look to build positive relationships; are mindful of trauma, abuse and victimisation; and are based within the desistance paradigm, stressing strengths, maturation and self-worth o Interventions that work with women who offend are based around confidence and self-esteem building: increasing skills in relationships and parenting, improving physical and mental well-being, and tackling substance misuse. Most (26 out of 31 cases) reported that there were women's centres operating locally. o All said they delivered or accessed specific rehabilitation activity requirements (RARs) for women, and most (24 out of 31 cases) had dedicated resources for women. Key findings on: o Leadership, management and partnerships o The sentencing of women o Reducing reoffending o Protecting the public and managing vulnerability o Abiding by the court sentence or licence o Women's centres o The views of women who offend o?
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