Risk, and Alternatives for Women’s Imprisonment – Law Assignment Help

Assignment Task


‘We should not be sending women to prison for non-violent offences.’
Critically discuss statement in relation to debates about women, risk, and alternatives to women’s imprisonment. 

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Over the past twenty years there has been a significant increase in women imprisonment in England and Wales; the numbers have doubled in women’s prison population, despite people arguing that female offending more often is less serious than offences committed by male as well as the nature of the crimes committed by women make it difficult to justify sending them to prison (Mclvor, 2007:7). Women are being sent to prison for minor offences for the long period of time. Offences committed by any person regardless of their gender, without any doubts can cause certain risks on the society and more often on the close family members of the offender; however the increase inwomen’s imprisonment is due to severity of sentencing and due to the type of crimes women commit. Crime is something that becomes normal with time and therefore, it is required to be managed effectively rather than providing rehabilitation and retribution to every individual offender (Swaaningen, 1995). But is there any other alternatives to women’s imprisonments and what are the risks. The following paper will discuss whether we should be sending women to prison for nonviolent offences.

Women and prison:
Cosrton Report (2007) believes that current prison system is designed for men by men; however the reasons why women commit criminal offences can be slightly different from men. Offences commits by women are often due to financial difficulties and being in desperate need to support their children or in general survival. Women in prison found to have suffered from various mental disorders, previous alcohol and drug abuse as well as physical and psychological abuse within the family or community. Moreover majority of the women in prison are mothers who left their children behind and not being able to be completely involved in their children life. It is crucial to understand the needs of the women who get caught up in the criminal justice system as most of them are the victims themselves who should be handled appropriately.

Women imprisonment for non-violent offences can involve variety of the risks; one of the most common ones can be self-harm, according to studies conducted, a quarter of female inmates selfharm. Women are also more mentally vulnerable than men, therefore mental illness rate is high among female inmates; risks of attempting suicide and having various mental disorders are present taking in consideration that prisons are not well prepared to deal with these risks. Incarcerating a mother or even females who are pregnant while serving the sentence have huge impact on the future of the child as they impose a risk of having mental health issues or from being in such an environment they might end up being locked up themselves in the future.

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