Should Women Go To Prison?

11 September 2018, 07:26 | Updated: 11 September 2018, 08:37

Prison cell block

Heart's been told women on shorter sentences shouldn't serve time in prison.

After three women died in prison's in England within 10 days, Heart has been told ALL large women's jails - like Drake Hall in the West Midlands - should close.

Francis Crook, who is the Chief Exec of prisons charity The Howard League, believes the majority of non-violent offenders are only a risk to themselves.

We've been speaking to a couple of former inmates from the West Midlands about their experiences. They agree that women in shorter sentences are more likely to re-offend and spend their lives in and out of jail.

 Figures reveal 70& of women on short sentences are likely to re-offend again in the 12 months after being released. 

This woman has been helped by Birmingham-based charity Anawim since coming out of prison. She told us you can just tell the ones who will be back. 

 Rates of self harm are five times higher in women's prisons than in men's.

Our reporter Emma Reid has been exploring the topic of women in prisons by speaking to a range of people involved in or affected by the criminal justice system. She's spoken to former inmates, the Howard League for Penal Reform, the former governor of HMP Holloway and the mother of a woman who died in prison.

 The Justice Minister told Heart the government is reforming its approach to women's prisons, admitting many inmates would be better dealt with outside prison.