Campaigners optimistic over plans for women in prison

Baroness Corston is “optimistic” that her government-commissioned report into vulnerable women in prison will be implemented, the Labour peer said yesterday.

Corston called for women’s prisons to be scrapped and replaced with small units to house the minority of serious and violent female offenders who pose a threat to the public. For non-violent offenders – most women in prison – community sentences should be the norm, her report states.

Feedback on the report has been good with interest from all parties, Corston told a meeting organised by charity Women in Prison.

Home Office Minister Baroness Scotland promised to look carefully at the report and consider its recommendations, when it was published last month.

Also at the Women in Prison meeting was Pauline Campbell, whose daughter Sarah died in Styal Prison. Campbell told Corston that the report “must be implemented without delay.”

Since Sarah died in 2003, a further 36 female inmates have died in prison, including two last week, she added.

“The success of the Corston report will be in its implementation,” Deborah Coles, chair of Women in Prison and co-director of charity Inquest, concluded.

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