HMI Probation have recently produced a report – A thematic inspection of the provision and quality of services in the community for women who offend
“In this inspection we have found a lack of strategic focus on women. There is no clear statement of the government’s policy aims for women who offend or are likely to reoffend, and Community Rehabilitation Company contractual provisions specific to women are operational and basic, rather than strategic. There are no outcome measures specific to women, and the National Offender Management Service does not as yet publish information on performance against the few operational measures that exist.
Encouragingly, we saw slightly better mental health outcomes for women than for those sampled in 2011. We found a reduction in the availability of accommodation for women, however, and considerable uncertainty and anxiety about current and future funding of women’s services. Since the implementation of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, dedicated funding for women’s community services has virtually disappeared, and provision is mixed and uncertain. It has been difficult to pin down the extent and sources of funding now available, but it is clear that specific funding for work with women who offend is tenuous at best, and often time-limited.
Women’s centres are particularly vulnerable and some have already lost funding, yet they have an important role to play. We found cases where they had been pivotal in turning women away from crime and helping them to rebuild their lives, but often women who offend chose not to get involved, for a number of reasons. In our view, women’s centres need both funding and strategic support, so that they fulfil their potential with this group of women.”