Visitors to this site will need no reminding that there are around 80,000 men and 4,000 women in British jails, and that women are treated far more leniently by the justice system than men. The government is on record as saying it plans to move the majority of female prisoners into rehabilitation centres near their homes, where they’ll have the opportunity to spend their evenings and nights with their families. Isn’t that nice? The 4,000 places thereby released will then be available for 4,000 more male prisoners.
We’ve published many pieces about women committing serious crimes and receiving suspended sentences (often not even that) when men committing the same crimes would have been incarcerated. So we thank L for pointing us to the ‘Clean Break’ theatre company. From a section titled ‘context’ on http://cleanbreak.org.uk/mission:
The treatment of women by the criminal justice system is one of the clearest demonstrations that our society is still fundamentally unequal and that women are judged by different standards to men… first-time women offenders are twice as likely as men to be sent to prison…
Ironically, the first sentence is true, but the inequality overwhelmingly favours women. Women are judged by different standards to men – lower standards – often, as though they have no higher moral agency than young children. We’ve reported on a large number of such cases, and people are becoming tired of hearing the same narratives day after day. They ‘get’ the point:
The justice system is brutal towards men and lenient towards women.
The women working for ‘Clean Break’ are presented with this month’s ‘Gormless Women of the Month’ award:
We’ll also be emailing them with the following public challenge:
Would you please email us your evidence substantiating a claim on your website, ‘first-time women offenders are twice as likely as men to be sent to prison’, or email us to say you’ll be retracting the claim? Thank you.