Non-custodial community programmes for non-violent female criminals in the UK

This is the fifth in a series of blogs from the finalists of this year’s Policy Idol competition. These blogs were originally presented as policy pitches at the live final of the competition earlier this year. Policy Idol is an annual competition open to all staff and students at King’s.

By Sarah Williams and Emma Wynne-Bannister

In the UK, approximately 9,000 women are imprisoned each year for non-violent crimes such as shoplifting, parking fines and non-payment of a TV licence. This includes around 5,000 women who are remanded in custody before being given a non-custodial sentence. A typical confinement is six months or less, a paradoxical situation in which these women are imprisoned just long enough for benefits to cease, but insufficient time to secure alternatives (the rate of official homelessness on discharge from prison sits at almost 40 per cent). As a result, many of these women get caught in a cycle of re-offending and re-imprisonment – a cycle that is costing the UK economy approximately £200 million each year. Continue reading

How racial biases can influence outcomes in the criminal justice system

By Rachel Hesketh

Last week David Lammy MP published his independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals in the criminal justice system (CJS). His findings on the extent of disproportionality in the CJS are sobering: England and Wales would have 9,000 fewer prisoners (the equivalent of 12 average-sized prisons) if the prison population was representative of the ethnic composition of the two countries. The overrepresentation of Black people in prisons here is actually greater than in the US. Continue reading