Prison Reform Trust briefing for Westminster Hall Debate on Sentencing of female offenders

Many thanks to Jenny Earle (Director, Programme to reduce women’s imprisonment) at The Prison Reform Trust for letting us have the PRT briefing document that went to MPs before the debate.

You can find the document here: Westminster Hall debate – sentencing of female offenders

Jenny offered this insight:

“We do not argue that women should be treated ‘more favourably than men’, rather that equal treatment does not necessarily mean or require the same treatment. As the nature, causes and patterns of offending are different for women than for men, different responses may be required. Also, there is ample evidence that imprisonment is particularly hard on women, especially for mothers who are much more likely than men/fathers to be primary carers, women are less likely to have someone ‘looking out for them’ when they are in prison, as women often do for men when they are in prison.”

Women’s secure hospital services: national bed numbers and distribution

You might be interested in this free open access article in the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology about the distribution of women in secure services in England and Wales. It is an important piece of work because the Department of Health did not have the information and bed distribution is likely to influence how far from home women are placed. Not to mention a SFF member is one of the authors!

December 8th: Art Therapy and Acquired Brain Injury

Art Therapy and Acquired Brain injury:  The challenges of developing a therapeutic alliance.

Kate Rothwell and Peter.

Kate is currently Head of Arts Therapies in East London NHS Foundation Trust,  a Wing Art Therapist at H.M.P Grendon and visiting lecturer on the MA Art Therapy programmes at University of Hertfordshire, Derby, Roehampton and Goldsmiths.

Peter a private patient who acquired global brain injury from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Too high functioning to join a brain injury group, though a keen artist in his own right, Peter’s brain injury manifests itself in positive and negative differences including short term memory loss and lack of social inhibition.

Peter and Kate join to discuss the process of art therapy and will show a selection of Peter’s art work to invite further discussion and exploration.


Criminal law and mental health

Thank you to Michael Birnbaum QC for coming to speak on the 6th October. We had a great introduction to the world of criminal law. Discussion focused around “diminished responsibility” the ethics of court reports.

Diminished responsibility as a defence:

  1. An abnormality of mental functioning caused by a recognised medical condition.
  2. Which provides an explanation for the defendant’s acts or omissions in being party to the killing.
  3. Which substantially impaired his/her mental ability to either:

­   Understand the nature of their conduct or

­   Form a rational judgment or

­   Exercise self–control

Something to think about: note that atypical mental functioning should be a “recognised medical condition”.