Improving the well being and wellbeing for girls in jail

International Women’s Day (IWD), which has taken place on March eight for over a century, is a worldwide day celebrating the social, financial, cultural and political achievements of girls. But, IWD isn’t solely about acknowledging the boundaries that ladies have overcome over time, but additionally remembering that in some instances we nonetheless have a protracted strategy to go in direction of reaching gender parity.

Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist mentioned: “The story of girls’s wrestle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to anyone organisation however to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

As an organisation which exists to guard and enhance the nation’s well being and wellbeing, and cut back well being inequalities, Public Health England is a part of this collective effort.

It has lengthy been recognised that folks in jail are sometimes in poorer well being. Rates of bodily and psychological well being issues and drug or alcohol dependence are greater and this group wrestle to entry well being providers (in custody and locally). This is commonly on prime of different social points akin to poverty, indebtedness, unemployment, poor schooling and homelessness.

What’s clear is that ladies in jail are sometimes much more affected than their male counterparts. For instance, 65% of girls in jail endure from melancholy in comparison with 37% of women and men in jail account for 23% of all jail self-harm incidents regardless of representing simply 5% of the jail inhabitants.

Historically, prisons have nearly invariably been designed for almost all male jail inhabitants – from the structure of prisons, to safety procedures, to healthcare, household contact, work and coaching.

We additionally know that numerous ladies who face jail sentences come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Fifty three % of girls in jail report having skilled emotional, bodily or sexual abuse throughout childhood and forty one % of prisoners in a single survey mentioned that they’d noticed violence at residence as a toddler. These detrimental childhood experiences can have a profound affect on ladies’s well being outcomes and their offending behaviour. Women additionally are inclined to have roles as mother and father or major care givers in households, which means time in jail no solely impacts on them however on their households and the folks they give the impression of being after.

Time in jail may be seen for a lot of as the primary alternative to show their lives round, enhance their well being and entry the providers they want.  If we need to enhance ladies’s well being and well-being in jail it’s important to concentrate on the basis causes of their state of affairs; to stop detrimental experiences from taking place within the subsequent era of youngsters, to develop methods to intervene early and to present complete help to mitigate the results of detrimental childhood experiences.

The new Gender Specific Standards to Improve Health and Well Being for Women in Prison in England, printed by Public Health England, spotlight the necessity for a system strategy. This contains:

  • Preventing offending by tackling the broader determinants of well being and supporting upstream prevention of substance misuse, violence, unemployment and exclusion from faculty
  • Ensuring that whereas in jail ladies have entry to prime quality well being and care providers to help enhancements to their psychological well being, substance misuse and basic well being
  • Developing an atmosphere in jail which supplies alternatives for girls to enhance their well being by bettering diet and inspiring participation in bodily exercise
  • Giving enough help to ladies who’ve kids, inside the jail in mom and child models, and people who are separated from their kids
  • Ensuring that help is accessible for girls who depart jail by way of housing, coaching and employment alternatives, applicable entry to social welfare and different advantages if relevant, continuation of therapy and referral into applicable group providers

Implementation of those requirements is a shared goal for HMPPS, NHS England and PHE.  We are conscious that these requirements usually are not all at present all being met and won’t all be achieved in a single day. But, they’ll kind a programme of labor which goals to enhance high quality of providers and outcomes for girls in jail.  With these requirements in place all well being and justice companions can work collectively throughout the system and put in place pathways to enhance the well being and well-being of girls involved with the prison justice system, in custody and locally.