About 80,000 of the 84,000 people in British prisons are men (95%). Last November William Collins showed in an important article that if British men were sentenced as leniently as women by the courts, five out of six men currently in prison wouldn’t be there. The male prison population would be reduced to about 13,000, ending the problem of prison overcrowding at a stroke, and saving huge amounts of taxpayers’ money.
Five weeks ago we sent a FoI request on the prison sentencing gender gap, with plenty of supporting evidence, to Michael Gove MP, Justice Secretary. Last Friday we received a truly woeful response from his department. You can access the original document we sent to Michael Gove, the MoJ response, and our critique of it here. The value of the MoJ response lies largely in its unwitting revelation of the extreme anti-male bias of the department, a bias which is also apparent throughout the criminal justice system.
Justice should be blind, we can all agree… but it manifestly isn’t gender blind.