Barbara joined Harriet Harman, Minister for Women, on a visit to Holloway Prison.
Women’s prisons have been under greater scrutiny since Baroness Corston launched her review last year on the situation of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system. The Ministers for Women also made it a priority for the Government to improve the way they deal with women who commit crimes. A team of Government ministers are now working on implementing many of the Corston report’s recommendations.
Barbara also referred to the visit to Holloway prison in a debate at Westminster:
“We were able to visit the mother and baby unit and although the staff there are doing a great job, it does not seem right for a baby to live in prison. In the crèche in the unit, a staff member was caring for a baby who was almost nine months old. Sadly, he would be parted from his mother soon afterwards. The loss of access to children seems to me to add significantly to the sentences that women serve in prison.”
She added after the debate:
“Closer to my own constituency, Styal prison has been the focus of much attention following the recommendations of the Corston report on vulnerable women in prison. Some improvements have taken place, but I hope that the work underway, at Styal, Holloway and the other women’s prisons around the country will change the conditions for vulnerable women detained there and will help women to break the cycle of offending.”