WOMEN IN PRISON is a national organisation that provides support to women affected by the criminal justice system and campaigns to end the harm caused to women and their families by imprisonment. We provide holistic, gender-specialist and trauma-informed support in prison, in the community and through Women’s Centres and hubs in London, Manchester and Woking. Our combined services provide support around advocacy, domestic and sexual violence, physical health, mental health, substance misuse, parenting, training and employment. Our core campaign is to significantly reduce the women’s prison population and for investment and growth in community-based support services. Central to our mission is to provide opportunities, training and guidance for women affected by the criminal justice system to speak out and be ambitious for change. This includes producing a national magazine led by and for women in prison, attending women’s centres and affected by the criminal justice system.
A new system of justice that addresses the root causes of offending (including addiction, poverty, mental ill health, homelessness and experiences of trauma and abuse) in communities, through a network of women’s centres and services available to every woman who requires support.
To persuade decision-makers to radically reduce the women’s prison population, by demonstrating how investment in specialist community support services, including women’s centres, enables women to move forward with their lives. To promote the development of communities where small therapeutic secure units replace prisons for the minute number of women whose offending and risk to the public may require custody. We do this by:
Social justice and feminism – We are committed to social justice and the feminist goal of gender equality. We see daily the price paid by women, children and families as a result of injustices across gender, race, sexual orientation, disability and class. The current system is broken. It causes harm and delivers neither justice nor rehabilitation. We know from experience that a women-centred ‘whole system’ approach is the best way to reduce crime, strengthen communities and protect the public.
Independence and trust – Core to our success is our independence and the trust placed in us by the women with whom we work, whose energy and assets are at the heart of our services and campaigns. This partnership based on independence and trust is a vital part of our ethos and drives our ability to speak ‘truth to power’.
Dedication to changing our lives and the world – We believe that women can change the world in which they live, as well as their own and their families’ lives, when they are given meaningful support and opportunities to speak out, utilise their strengths and be ambitious for change. We know that this requires perseverance and hope. We see setbacks as a chance to learn from failure, renew our efforts and try a different approach, not a reason to give up.