We already know that women are sentenced very differently from men:
- Women are more likely to receive a caution.
- They are more likely to be remanded in custody and then receive a non-custodial sentence.
- They are also more likely to receive a short custodial sentence.
Recent data published by the MoJ in response to an Freedom of Information request gives us more detailed information.
The data refers to 5,156 women sentenced to immediate custody in 2014 (quarter two is not included because “some prisoners’ offence information was not supplied to Justice Statistics Analytical Services”).
Why are women sent to prison?
You can see that 40% of women are sent to prison for offences of theft or handling with a further 6% imprisoned for fraud or forgery.
15% of women are sent to prison for violent offences.
How long are women sent to prison for?
As you can see, almost three fifths (59%) of women are sent to prison for 6 months or less, with just one in twenty (5%) imprisoned for four years or longer.
Quite what so many short sentences (with prisoners spending a maximum of 13 weeks inside) achieve, given the disruption to the lives of women and their children, is very unclear to me.