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£24m dedicated to support female offenders

The MoJ has today announced funding to support women in the justice system.

£24m has been ring-fenced to support women whose crimes have been “fuelled” by addiction, mental health issues and domestic violence.

Over 60 per cent of women in prison have experienced domestic abuse, while 50 per cent have drug addictions.

£21m will be invested in women’s services tackling the causes of female offending, and an extra £3.6m will be allocated to local services – such as mental health support and drug experts – to enable them to work to support female offenders.

Organisations will be able to bid for the funding.

Statistics suggest that without specialist support in the community – half of women who have been in prison would re-offend.

Prisons Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Female offenders are often driven into crime by poor mental health, drug addiction or abuse.

“This investment will make sure we support women facing these problems away from crime and into the help they need to get their lives back on track.”

In addition to the funding announced today, the government is piloting a Residential Women’s Centre in Swansea. It is expected to open in 2024 and will cater for around 50 offenders annually who otherwise would have been handed a custodial sentence of 12 months or less.

The centre will be run by the Probation Service and women staying there will receive one-to-one mental health therapy and counselling.

The MoJ has previously emphasised that it will not be a “mini-prison” and that women will be able to leave the centre during the day. There will also be a no alcohol or illegal drugs policy.

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