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Lord Tom McNally A gendered approach to tackling female reoffending and resettlement pathways in the Offender Rehabilitation Bill

Lord Tom McNally A gendered approach to tackling female reoffending and resettlement pathways in the Offender Rehabilitation Bill

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Published by Farah Damji
Lord Tom McNally to consider an amendment in the Offender rehabilitation Act specif to the needs of women in services to be provided to women under the proposed privatization of probation services and rehabilitation and supervision of ex offenders
Lord Tom McNally to consider an amendment in the Offender rehabilitation Act specif to the needs of women in services to be provided to women under the proposed privatization of probation services and rehabilitation and supervision of ex offenders

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Published by: Farah Damji on Jun 06, 2013
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06/06/2013

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Four Feather Mews | 89 Fieldgate Street | London | E1 1DHTel 020 7 377 5791 | e: info@kazuri.org.uk
Lord Tom McNallyMinistry of Justice102 Petty FranceLondon SW1H 9AJ 6 June 2013Dear Lord McNally
 
Lord McNally, I am delighted to see this government, unlike so many before it, doing somethingpositive for women with the review of women
s prisons and diversion centres being undertaken by justice minister Helen Grant. I was however deeply disappointed that there was no mention of womenat all in the Offender Rehabilitation Bill. I noticed the amendment proposed by Lord Wolf waswithdrawn last night because the government wants to allow as much room for flexibility andinnovation in the design of contracts and services provided by the private contractors to whom theserehabilitation contracts will be let. Having read the bill there is granular detail in the way youngoffenders, drug users and veterans will be dealt with under the new proposed legislation and clearlythe government is not afraid to be prescriptive when it comes to others who will be affected by thisimportant piece of legislation. I hope you might reconsider and in good time for next reading atCommittee Stage, and come back with a response that adequately addresses the issues raisedherein.One only has to look at how G4S, Serco and others take advantage of the lack of prescriptive detail inother contracts, most notably the Work Program, now widely deemed to be a failure and theCOMPASS Housing Contract. The Public Accounts Committee has stated the Ministry of Justice arenot good commissioners of services. Currently, the two largest providers of services to the Ministryof Justice, G4S and Serco are being investigated for "overpayments" to the tune of over £100million in the tagging contracts. It is disheartening that this government thinks these same contractorswill design services specific to women. They will not. They do not at present. They do not have thecapacity or the experience to offer such a service.Women will be dumped in the same mainstream services as men and will be set up to fail, asusual because many women who offend are survivors of domestic violence and in communitysentences they don't feel safe with men on the same courses. Many will feel threatened and notshow up to complete the sentence of the court. They will be breached and they will end up in prison,sadly, for offenses which would not have attracted a custodial sentence in the first place. This willcause an additional strain on already strained NOMS prison budgets and goes against the statedpolicy by Helen Grant that she wishes to see less women imprisoned and community servicesdeployed which actually work for women. Research evidences that women respond better to samesex community services and have a better outcome if these services are gendered, they are lesslikely to re offend.Given the importance of a specific intervention tailored to women and the value placed by thisgovernment on ending violence against women and identifying the importance of developing aspecific strategy for tackling high re offending rates in female offenders, there is a unique opportunityto address this issue for the first time, on the face of the bill. I respectfully ask you toeview our report
 
to the Justice Committee last year which states the burden of legal of legal responsibility for equalitylies with the government. It does not lie with contracted agencies and the government must passlegislation concerning equality that can be reflected in contracts, but underpinned by statutoryrequirements.I respectfully submit therefore that you consider coming forward with a government amendment thatensures that women's needs are met.

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