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UK Justice Minister Proposes to Release 50% of Imprisoned Women

© Images / Dan DennisonPolice stand guard outside a South London
Police stand guard outside a South London - Sputnik International
Those women who serve sentences for non-violent crimes and pose no danger to society should be released, UK Justice Minister Simon Hughes suggests. He will soon announce the expansion of special government measures to help women avoid committing crimes.

Wormwood Scrubs Prison in west London - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW, January 29 (Sputnik) — UK Justice Minister Simon Hughes has recommended that the number of women serving prison terms should be reduced by half as most of them have been victims themselves, the BBC reported Thursday.

"Women are a special case for very good, evidenced reasons. Firstly, many more women who go to prison have themselves been victims. They've often been abused or in violent partnerships," Hughes said on air of BBC Radio 5.

He added that it was his belief that women tend to leave behind family responsibilities, unlike men.

Hughes stressed that he was primarily referring to women sentenced for non-violent crimes.

"There are some women who do terrible things and deserve to be locked up for a very long time. My concern is for those who are not a danger to society, who have become caught by a system which then does not help them out of it," Hughes said.

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According to British media, the minister will soon announce the expansion of special government measures aimed at helping women avoid committing crimes and being sentenced to prison. This refers to a program trialed in Manchester which helps women who have been charged with minor crimes or are fighting drug and alcohol addiction as well as mental health issues, instead of immediately sending them to jail. The program is expected to be spread to six more regions in England, BBC reported.

The 2013 research by the UK Prison Reform Trust (PRT) suggests that almost half of women released from prison are re-convicted within a year.

There are currently about 3,800 women imprisoned in England and Wales, according to UK Ministry of Justice data.


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