THE CORSTON REPORT
A review of women in the criminal justice system
"There can be few topics that have been so exhaustively researched to such little practical effect as the plight of women in the criminal justice system. The volume of material might lead one to suppose that this is a highly controversial area, which might account in some way for the lack of progress and insight in the way women continue to be treated. This is not the case."
Baroness Jean Corston
Corston interview in the Guardian
The report was commissioned by the Home Office in 2003, following a number of suicides in Styal women's prison in Manchester. It was published in March 2007.
The report has two sub-headings:
A Report by Baroness Jean Corston of a Review of Women with Particular Vulnerabilities in the Criminal Justice System and The Need for a Distinct, Radically Different, Visibly-Led, Strategic, Proportionate, Holistic, Woman-Centred, Integrated Approach.
Corston is not arguing that no woman should ever go to prison. However, she found that there are many women in prison, either on remand or serving sentences for minor, non-violent offences, for whom prison is both disproportionate and inappropriate. The imprisonment causes chaos in their lives and those of their families, without the system addressing the roots of their criminality and, so, they keep re-offending.
The Corston report is seen by some as 'hard-hitting and radical', by others as plain common sense. Of the 43 recommendations made in the report, the government accepted 40 of them. That doesn’t necessarily mean that change is going to be implemented, and penal reform groups are criticising the government for not doing enough.
The Corston Report clearly explains why change is so urgently needed. Now, READ IT!
"It is timely to build on the indication that
the public is not as punitive in outlook
as some suppose and wants to know the facts
and to have a rational debate."
Baroness Jean Corston
The Corston Report
Publication date: March 2007
Download EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
PDF 16 pages
or download THE FULL CORSTON REPORT:
PDF 38 pages PART 2
PDF 52 pages ANNEX
PDF 20 pages
The Government's response
PDF 36 pages
Delivering the Government's response
PDF 32 pages
This is not a report for the Home Secretary’s ‘to read’ pile, it’s for his to do list.
Fawcett Society responds
to the CORSTON REPORT