Girls in prison “out of sight and mind” of social services

Some social services departments are guilty of an “out of
sight, out of mind” culture in their approach to girls in
prisons, according to the Howard League for Penal Reform,
writes Clare Jerrom.

Support for girls was “inconsistent”, with some on full or
voluntary care orders receiving no emotional or financial support,
a new report from the Howard League found.

There are few prisons which hold girls, so many are held long
distances from their homes. The distance also makes it difficult
for Youth Offending Teams to support the girls.

The Howard league urged the Youth Justice Board to remove
17-year-old girls from prisons and place them in a more appropriate

The charity believes there have been a number of positive steps
to improve conditions for girls in prisons, but warned “you
cannot escape the fact that a prison is still a prison”.

“It is run by prison officers who often have limited
specialist training for work with teenagers and it is based on a
regime designed largely for an adult male population,” the
report added.

The charity’s work with girls in Bullwood Hall prison
found that 40 girls had a drug or alcohol problem, 19 admitted to
self-harming, nine had been victims of abuse, and 11 were pregnant.
The report warns that prison can often compound these problems.

”Advice, understanding and underwear: working with girls in
prison” from 020 7249 7373.

* Hilton Dawson MP tabled an early day motion in the House of
Commons congratulating the Howard League for Penal Reform for its
campaign to end the use of prison for children and girls in

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