Bishop of Gloucester asks if enough attention is given to prison alternatives when women are sentenced

On 3rd July 2018 Baroness Burt of Solihull asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they will ensure that provision for women in the prison system is properly funded, following their decision to abandon plans for five community prisons for women in England and Wales.” The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I am grateful that Her Majesty’s Government do not intend to open new women’s prisons, as has been said, and I am grateful for the assurance that more money will be put into women’s centres. However, what work will be done to ensure that those who sentence know what is actually available in the community?

Lord Keen of Elie: My Lords, I am confident that the sentencing guidelines, and judicial guidelines in general, are sufficient to inform all levels of the judiciary as to the appropriate way in which to treat sentencing provision. Indeed, there is further guidance on this in England and Wales, which the noble Lord at the back may not be familiar with.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Lab): The right reverend Prelate is also shaking her head.

Lord Keen of Elie: Looking in this direction, I can only see the noble Lord’s head shaking. However, it might not be in disagreement; maybe it is an affliction, and I apologise. With regard to sentencing, there are clear guidelines, which include guidelines from the Court of Appeal over sentencing where there is an impact on children and other dependants.