The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies has launched a call-to-action for interested parties to build a network of people in order to get to the root of problems faced by women in the criminal justice system. Of course, this is a matter close to my heart and is no secret. Women are shoehorned into a justice system designed by men for men. I am not a feminist who is ranting that women are treated unfairly in comparison to men, I believe that both genders should be treated fairly. I am a woman and I have been through the justice system and I have direct experience to understand what challenges are faced by women in the CJS. In particular, older women, such as myself, who do not fit into the youth offending age range. There are very few services out there who have refined their services enough to drive down to the direct needs of women.
The Centre for Crime & Justice Studies was one of the first organisations I contacted last year post-sentence who actually listened to me around what I found was lacking not only in services, but in the justice system as a whole. The system fails those it can help the most. Help to keep families together, to ensure that children are cared for and to truly enable women who are in the hands of justice, to empower themselves to rise again and lead a decent and workable life where they can care for their children and sustain themselves. The MoJ’s mantra, “Justice must fit all” isn’t working and nor will it ever while women are shoehorned into the current system.
The Centre for Crime & Justice Studies have collaborated with Women in Prison to form a strong network of willing people and organisations to tackle and prioritise the needs of women rather than CJS objectives.
It is time – justice is about help, support, empowerment and dealing with injustice. I wholly support this and it means so much to me as a woman who has journeyed through the CJS. Let us support Women in Prison and CCJS as they have set the foundation to bring about some change and justice for women in a system that largely ignores women.