The Bishop of Gloucester hosted an event in the House of Lords on Monday 15 October, to challenge the effectiveness of the recently launched Female Offender Strategy.
Her aim is that women given short sentences for non-violent offences should be given community-based orders and rehabilitated through women’s centres. She is calling, alongside others, for funding to be diverted from the prison system into women’s centres such as The Nelson Trust in Gloucestershire.
We know that it costs approximately £47k per year to keep a woman in prison, but women’s centres can work effectively with approximately £4k per woman each year. Properly resourced women’s centres can provide an opportunity for women to receive a holistic trauma-informed approach of rehabilitation.
The event showcased powerful examples of people, organisations and communities working to drive change for women. Bishop Rachel said, “My hope is that by bringing people together for conversation we will be challenged to take action in ways that will help provide a different path for some women in the judicial system, giving them opportunities to flourish. For me, as a follower of Jesus Christ, my motivation to do this is to see every woman become the person that God has created her to be.”
Watch the precis video here:
Speakers included Edward Argar, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice and representatives from Women in Prison and women centres, The Nelson Trust and Anawim. We also had the privilege of hearing a personal story from a service user from the Nelson Trust, who shared her own story and how the support of the Nelson Trust turned her life around.
This event took place in Prisons Week (14 to 20 October), an annual time to raise awareness of the needs of prisoners and their families, victims of offenders, prisons staff and all those who care.