The answer should be no. The Chief Inspector's job is to inspect prisons, report on conditions and make recommendations for improvements.
You might know that it is rare for women to be imprisoned – women make up only five per cent of the total prison population – and that it is very rare for women to commit serious offences.
The prison population now
The first thing to point out is that the significant fall in the prison population we saw from March through to July has been sustained, although the rate of decrease has been much lower. The prison population in England and Wales now stands at just under 79,000, compared to nearly 84,000 at the start of March.
Despite its title, A Smarter Approach to Sentencing, both the gist and detail of its proposals are predictable and formulaic. Like all its recent predecessors it claims the immediate and self-evident cause for public concern about crime and criminal justice is a) insufficient punishment, and b) inattention to victim’s needs and rights.
This excerpt from the 2011 Prison Rules and Directions for Scotland is both unequivocal and unqualified. How then have we moved in the intervening years to a situation whereby men/male prisoners who self-identify as women can lay claim to a place within the women’s estate?
I am glad to say this dictum was wholly misplaced when I went for an interview to study on the Criminology MA course at Middlesex University in the 1990s. Being interviewed by one of the doyens of British criminology, the late Jock Young, was a truly memorable experience.
Underscoring the vulnerability of women in prison, the report observed much higher rates of serious mental health problems, compared to the general population, and that women offenders were, ‘often victims of severe and repeated physical and sexual abuse’.
Its report, due to be published in the near future, examines the fundamental principles on which the use of electronic monitoring (EM) in criminal justice, now and in the future, should be based.
A new report, Stories of Injustice: The criminalisation of women convicted under joint enterprise laws, was published earlier this week highlighting new and disturbing evidence of the hidden and ongoing injustice of joint enterprise laws in England and Wales.
The first known baby in prison was Henry Kable Junior, born in an English prison, Norwich Castle Gaol in February 1786. He lived with his mother in Norwich Castle Gaol until he and his parents were all transported to Australia.
They show that after months of cases appearing to drop to low levels and no deaths since June, there was a surge in confirmed cases in October, as well as a number of deaths.