Women Offenders

Women Offenders
Studies show that women commit less crime than men, with only ‘19% of known offenders been women’ (Home office 2003). The majority of women in prison are for non-violent offences, with the most common offence been theft and handling accounting for ‘57% of known female offenders in 2003 (home office 2003). In 2003 most females that were arrested were identified as having drug misuse problems, and were more likely than men to spend money on drugs and report recent use of more harmful drugs. This can be seen by the admissions to the Rothera Project as the majority of the women have received prison sentences due to committing crimes to pay for illicit substances.

Around 70% of women receive sentences of less than one year (home office 2007) however women who receive short term prison sentences have the highest reconviction rate of released adult prisoners (Brookes 2005). Marco a leading crime reduction charity has claimed that sending ‘female offenders to jail does them more harm than good’. This is because when they are released many women expect to be homeless because their lives and relationships are so seriously damaged by the experience. It is on this basis that the Rothera Project provides accommodation and support for ex-offenders tackling the main areas that make transition back into the community more successful as well as reducing the risk of re-offending.

There are many barriers for women when they are released from prison which affects their resettlement. These include:

For women with substance misuse problems, drugs are one of the main barriers to resettlement. Problems arise mainly when the illicit drug is heroin. The accessing of methadone which is a treatment that stabilizes and enables a person to function has many problems. Many prisoners are released without immediate access to a methadone prescription and if they are not registered with a local doctor they face long delays in getting an appointment. Brookes and...