Female offenders should receive more targeted support to break the cycle of crime and abuse many of them face, Justice Minister Helen Grant said. It costs £45,000 to keep a woman in prison for one year – while almost 45 per cent of all women released from custody in 2010 re-offended within 12 months.

Setting out her priorities, Helen Grant outlined the need for proper punishment, coupled with effective rehabilitation, to turn women away from crime.

A powerful new Advisory Board will bring together key experts to help shape future policy in tackling female offending and drive through reforms. Issues the board will consider include:
  • The use of tough and effective community orders that allow women to be punished and rehabilitated in the community where appropriate;
  • How the private, voluntary and public sector can provide more effective women’s services in the community, including female-only treatment programmes;
  • Locating female prisoners as near as possible to their families to help maintain important links with children; and
  • Support for female offenders released from prison so they have help finding housing, a job or education and appropriate treatment.