The rising number of women recalled to prison

Published date01 June 2019
Date01 June 2019
AuthorMadeline Petrillo
Subject MatterResearch & reports
PRB844106 248..254 250
Probation Journal 66(2)
The rising number of women recalled to prison
This report by the Prison Reform Trust reports on a small-scale study examining the
rising number of women recalled to prison. Recalls of women have risen 27% since
the implementation of ORA 2014. In contrast to recalls of men, the number of
women recalled has continued to rise beyond expected increases resulting from the
extension of post-custody supervision. The report investigates the reasons for this
through interviews and panels with 24 women recalled between March and August
Recalls of women were activated for failure to keep in touch or non-compliance
far more often than for new criminal charges. The women in the study explained
their recall in terms of multiple and complex needs. Of the 24 women:
22 reported needing help with housing
21 needed drug and/or alcohol support
18 needed help with benefits
16 needed help with mental health problems
Living with domestic abuse and childcare concerns were also cited as issues that
could impact on their ability to comply with supervision. Almost a third of the women
reported needing help with a combination of mental health, substance misuse and
domestic abuse. In total, 22 women disclosed being in risky situations whilst on
release, including homelessness and domestic abuse.
The respondents in this study explained their reasons for failing to keep in touch
as follows:
Most felt they could not rely on their responsible officer for practical support to
resolve urgent social and practical problems they faced on release.
Trust in the relationship was seriously undermined by doubts that the respon-
sible officer had the capacity and/or a genuine desire to help.
The women felt their social needs were treated as indicators of increased risk
of offending which resulted in the women being reluctant to ask for help.
Practical problems such as the distance to the probation/CRC office posed an
obstacle to compliance.
The threat of recall increased the...

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