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Commissioner calls for pilot women’s residential centre in Devon and Cornwall

The Ministry of Justice has today (27 June) announced plans to trial five residential centres to help offenders with issues such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation, educational support and finding work.

These centres replace plans for community prisons in England and Wales.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez welcomes the change and calls for a pilot centre in Devon and Cornwall.

“It is clear that short custodial sentences are not working for women – they can exacerbate the social and psychological problems known to underpin female offending.Alison said

“Evidence shows that the reasons for female offending are different, and the types of offences that women commit are different so we need to tailor our approach accordingly.

“The women who enter our prisons have often suffered some kind of adverse childhood experience and are more than twice as likely to need mental health support than their male counterparts.

“This announcement from the MoJ is welcome and I will be writing to David Gauke, Minister of Justice, to ask that one of these pilot centres comes to our region.

“Currently any women from Devon, Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly who are sentenced to time in prison are remanded in Gloucestershire – for many this is hundreds of miles from home.

“We know that having a support network is vital for the successful rehabilitation of offenders and this distance, and the time and cost associated with the travel between, can make it incredibly difficult for offenders and their support system to stay connected.

“Meeting the needs of the women in our communities earlier would result in long term cost savings and fewer victims through breaking the cycle of reoffending.”

This announcement is part of a wider national women’s strategy released today aimed at reducing reoffending..

A peninsular wide women’s strategy is currently being developed to improve outcomes for women in the Criminal Justice System at a local level.

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