Why are more women being jailed in West Yorkshire?

There has been a rise in the number of women being sent to prison in West Yorkshire.There has been a rise in the number of women being sent to prison in West Yorkshire.
There has been a rise in the number of women being sent to prison in West Yorkshire.
The number of women being sent to prison in West Yorkshire has risen, latest figures show.

A report by the Prison Reform Trust has revealed 334 women were sentenced to immediate custody in West Yorkshire in 2017.

Analysis has also revealed immediate prison sentences for women in West Yorkshire has risen 28 per cent since 2012.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

West Yorkshire also saw a 44 per cent increase in the number of women sentenced to less than 12 months in prison.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “There is clear evidence that suggests the use of short-term sentences, particularly of six months or less, is having little bearing on re-offending rates and this is an experience borne out here in West Yorkshire, having visited many prisons and spoken to governors.

“I have recently launched a reducing re-offending strategy which has a key focus on women in prison.

“Finding alternative solutions for less serious offending is vital for our communities, the women involved and their families particularly to prevent inter-generational crime.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I would very much support realistic solutions that keep women close to home, maintaining family relationships and engaging women with services to treat dependencies, mental health and manage domestic violence issues.

Mr Burns-Williamson said alternatives to prison for low-risk woman are needed to “help reduce the burden on our prisons and social services”.

The national report has identified that women living in parts of the North of England are four times more likely to be jailed than female offenders in the Home Counties

A report by the Prison Reform Trust found the imprisonment rate in Cleveland was the highest across England and Wales - with 67 women per 100,000 in the police force area being handed an immediate custodial sentence.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

South Wales follows with 65 prison terms per 100,000 women, while Cumbria’s figure of 50 was the third highest across the two countries.

By contrast, Sussex with 15 and Surrey with 16 per 100,000 have the lowest rates.

A Government spokeswoman said: “While sentencing is a matter for independent judges, our Female Offender Strategy has set out steps to see more women managed effectively in the community to avoid short custodial sentences.

“We have already invested £5 million in community services as part of a multi-agency approach to divert women away from crime and reduce the £15 billion cost of re-offending.

“Areas such as Greater Manchester have pioneered this approach, leading to a reduction in female imprisonment rates, and we are keen to see it adopted more widely.”