A group of influential MPs and peers has praised Greater Manchester for its groundbreaking approach to working with female offenders.
Warning that thousands of women are being needlessly criminalised each year, the report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System commends the Police and Crime Commissioner, Greater Manchester Police, local authorities, health, probation and voluntary organisations for their work around diverting women away from the criminal justice system.
It means women, who would otherwise be serving short prison sentences of up to three months, are given community-based punishments. Crucially, the women, many of whom are often victims of domestic and sexual abuse, are offered help and support to tackle the reasons for their behaviour.
Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “It’s great to see the work we are doing in Greater Manchester recognised at a national level.
“Prison simply isn’t the right answer for the majority of women who commit crime. Prison is expensive but nor do short sentences break the cycle of offending.
“Greater Manchester boasts a valuable network of women’s centres and voluntary organisations doing great work across the conurbation. By bringing them together with police, probation, health and other agencies we are making a real difference. Working with women offenders to address issues around mental health, domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse breaks the chain of reoffending. This saves taxpayers’ money, keeps families together and deters women from crime. This is a lot better than the expensive prison option.”
The APPG report is available at here