The listing of organisations below is not an exhaustive list..
...but it includes at the top of the list and in alphabetical order, those organisations with a particular interest in women and criminal justice. We will continue to add other sites that we think will be of interest to you.
Agenda is an alliance of more than 60 organisations who have come together to campaign for change for women and girls at risk. They believe society is failing to adequately protect and support women and girls who face the most extensive violence, abuse, trauma and extreme inequality.
The alliance was brought together by a group of trusts, foundations and voluntary sector organisations, building on work started with Baroness Corston’s 2007report into women in the criminal justice system. Agenda’s focus however, is not just criminal justice, but on a broader group of women and girls facing multiple disadvantage.
Agenda is governed by a steering group made up of funders, practitioners and policy experts from different fields, including homelessness, mental health, women’s centres, young people and criminal justice. The steering group is chaired by Baroness Lola Young and Katharine Sacks-Jones is the Director.
They are calling for systems and services to be redesigned with women and girls at their heart so that they can access the support they need to rebuild their lives and reach their full potential.
Centre for Crime & Justice Studies
At CCJS they aim to advance public understanding of crime, criminal justice and social harm. They believe that the United Kingdom’s over reliance on policing, prosecution and punishment is socially harmful, economically wasteful, and prevents us from tackling the complex problems our society faces in a sustainable, socially just manner.
They have several projects that are explicitly about women.
One Small Thing works with staff in women’s prisons and in the community across England and Scotland, developing approaches grounded in understanding and fostering positive outcomes for all. We call this trauma-informed practice. During the first phase of the project, One Small Thing worked with the National Offender Management Service to bring the renowned US expert, Dr Stephanie Covington, to the UK in September 2015. Dr Covington delivered a series of workshops for staff working in female prisons and community providers in England and Scotland.
Trauma and Harm in Women’s prisons. Many women in prison have experienced emotional trauma prior to imprisonment. The experience of being imprisoned can also be a traumatic one for many women, regardless of the quality of individual institutions and the professionalism and commitment of staff members. This project is focusing on women’s lifetime experiences of trauma – not forgetting the ‘here and now’ of multiple stresses in prison. On these foundations we aim provide evidence for new directions in prison management as well as new community-based options for women. The project will help to clarify not simply the extent of distress but also its origins and sources, so that it will be possible to design and improve comprehensive service approaches involving the whole prison and a range of community-based services. Establishing the sources and dynamics of trauma is far from being merely a research or academic question: it goes right to the heart of which interventions should be designed to reduce or ameliorate the impact of trauma. The project should be significant for anyone interested in policy on women’s imprisonment, and many practitioners, whether prison-based or in the community.
Centre for Justice Innovation
The Centre for Justice Innovation is an initiative of the Center for Court Innovation, a New York-based not for profit. The Center for Court Innovation’s involvement in England and Wales dates back to 1999 when the Center worked with the founders of the Youth Justice Board to explore cutting-edge innovations in juvenile justice. Over the last decade, officials at the Center have hosted numerous visitors to New York City from the UK (including the Justice Minister, Home Secretary, Attorney General, and Lord Chief Justice), and helped government officials replicate one of the Center’s demonstration projects, the Red Hook Community Justice Center, in North Liverpool.
They has also contributed ideas and research to a number of non-governmental organisations in England, including the Barrow Cadbury Trust’s Transition to Adulthood project, the Howard League for Penal Reform’s Commission on English Prisons Today, the Institute for Public Policy Research’s investigation of community justice, and Policy Exchange’s review of problem-solving courts.
Clean Break was set up in 1979 by two women prisoners who believed that theatre could bring the hidden stories of imprisoned women to a wider audience. Still the only women’s theatre company of its kind today, Clean Break has remained true to these roots, continuing to inspire playwrights around the complex theme of women and crime - enlightening and entertaining audiences. Integral to this, is the company’s long-established theatre-based education and training programme enabling women offenders and those at risk of offending to develop personal, social, professional and creative skills leading to education and employment.
Behind the scenes, they provide high-quality theatre-based courses, qualifications, training opportunities and specialist support which are critical for the rehabilitation of women offenders in prisons and the community. On the stage, they produce ground-breaking and award-winning plays which dramatise women’s experience of, and relationship to, crime and punishment. Their women-only identity is crucial to their history and rationale, and provides them with the most effective model for representing, understanding and meeting the complex needs of women who offend.
Clinks supports, represents and campaigns for the voluntary sector working with offenders and aims to ensure the sector and all those with whom they work, are informed and engaged in order to transform the lives of offenders and their communities.
Most of Clinks' work is national, though it draws on evidence gathered at regional and local levels. It includes campaigning, influencing policy and practice, and promoting opportunities for the VCS to develop or expand their work with offenders.
Criminal Justice Alliance
The Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA), is an alliance of over 90 organisations who work together to challenge policy makers and practitioners to create a fairer and more effective criminal justice system.
Their membership includes campaigning charities, voluntary sector service providers, research institutions, staff associations and trade unions.
Their current areas of focus include: Desistance (promoting policies that help individuals stop offending and contribute to their communities); Problem Solving Courts (encouraging magistrates and judges better to understand offenders when sentencing them and to become engaged in monitoring their progress); and Justice Reinvestment (identifying ways to more efficiently re-direct finances spent on prisons and probation to local services).
Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR)
The Institute for Criminal Policy Research (ICPR), based in Birkbeck, University of London, undertakes academically-grounded, policy-oriented research on all aspects of the criminal justice system. ICPR’s aims are to improve criminal justice policy and to contribute to academic knowledge and public debate about crime and criminal justice. The audiences for ICPR’s work include policy-makers and their advisors, practitioners, academics and the wider public.
ICPR projects which have had a specific focus on women include an evaluation – commissioned by the Corston Coalition – of six ‘One-Stop-Shop’ community services for women offenders. In September 2015, ICPR published the third edition of the World Female Imprisonment List (see under 'further reading'), which reported that more than 700,000 women and girls are held in penal institutions throughout the world. The analysis indicates that female prison population levels have grown much faster than male prison population levels since around the year 2000, with the number of women and girls in prison having increased by 50% over the past 15 years.
Prison Reform Trust
The Prison Reform Trust is a charity concerned with improving prison conditions through research, information and education.They are an independent UK charity working to create a just, humane and effective penal system. They do this by inquiring into the workings of the system; informing prisoners, staff and the wider public; and by influencing Parliament, government and officials towards reform.
They launched a three year drive (2015-18), to reduce women’s imprisonment across the UK. It will draw on the findings and recommendations of our report Transforming Lives, produced in partnership with Soroptimist UKPAC, and builds on the success of the previous programme supported by the Pilgrim Trust from 2012-2015, which contributed to a 10% reduction in the number of women in prison in England and Wales.
A useful source of facts and figures can be found in their Bromley Briefings, 'Prison, the Facts', the latest of which from Summer 2015 you will find under further reading.
RAPt (the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) works to help people with drug and alcohol dependence, both in prison and in the community, overcome the grip of addiction and lead positive lives, free from drugs and crime.
In 1992 RAPt founded the first drug treatment facility in a UK prison. Today we are the leading provider of intensive, abstinence-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes in UK prisons, and we provide high-quality drug and alcohol services to over 20,000 people every year within the criminal justice system and in the community.
Women’s Breakout is a third sector umbrella organisation that represents 56 voluntary and community sector organisations working with women offenders and women at risk of involvement in the criminal justice system in gender sensitive environments. For a full list of all projects that are a part of the Women’s Breakout network, you can visit their member project directory on their site.
Women in Prison (WIP)
Women in Prison was established in 1983 as a support and campaigning group for women prisoners. It aims to gather information directly from prisoners and ex-prisoners, and by making their experiences known, to change attitudes towards imprisonment. WIP continues to pursue its policy of employing ex-prisoners within the organisation. This site gives an overview of their work, and details of other parts of the organisation.
Young Women's Trust
Young Women's Trust supports and represents over one million women aged 16-30 trapped by low pay or no pay and facing a life of poverty.
We provide services and run campaigns to make sure that the potential and talents of young women don't go to waste and so that they can contribute fully to society.