Media Media releases INQUEST responds to new Ministry of Justice 'Female Offenders Strategy' 27 June 2018 The Ministry of Justice will today (27 June 2018) launch a Female Offenders Strategy, which has been awaited since early 2017. In May INQUEST published Still Dying on the Inside: Examining deaths in women's prisons, a report which highlights the lack of action from successive governments to prevent deaths and puts forward a series of recommendations to close women’s prisons by redirecting resources from criminal justice to community-based services. Since the 2007 publication of Baroness Corston’s seminal review on women in the criminal justice system, which was hailed by many as the blueprint for change, there has been little long-term systemic change and many of the recommendations she made have yet again been ignored. In the period since her review was published there have been 96 deaths in women’s prisons. Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST said: “INQUEST welcomes the acknowledgement of the many disadvantages faced by women, and the need for better community services and support, rather than more prisons. However much of this appears to be empty rhetoric. Shortcomings include lack of clarity on the funding of much-needed alternatives to custody, no implementation plan, and no substantive strategy on sentencing reform. Women who are put through the criminal justice system are not just ‘female offenders’. The real offence is how little this government, and many before them, are prepared to truly commit to for these women. We fear this strategy will not result in the structural change needed to prevent the ongoing harms and deaths in women’s prisons.” ENDS NOTES TO EDITORSFor further information please contact Lucy McKay or Sarah Uncles on 020 7263 1111 or [email protected] and [email protected]. Still Dying on the Inside: Examining deaths in women's prisons (May 2018) provides detailed information on the issues surrounding deaths in women’s prison since 2007. The inquest into death of Natasha Chin in HMP Bronzefield opens today (Wednesday 27 June).