Spotlight on incarceration and women’s health
The female prison population has risen exponentially in the past ten years, outpacing growth rates for men. Growth in the prison population affects the availability of rehabilitation programs and support services, with limited or no access for women on remand.
Much can be done to reduce and prevent women’s offending, imprisonment and recidivism. Primary prevention measures include adequate access to stable housing, employment, and gender-sensitive mental health and drug and alcohol services for women in all regions. Addressing bail and sentencing laws, together with an increased focus on justice reinvestment and community-based rehabilitation programs, can reduce the risk of offending and re-offending. Ensuring access to appropriate and culturally safe services both inside and outside prison, including transition and pre and post release support, is also of critical importance. This includes specialist services, case management and supported accommodation post release.
This Spotlight Report has a focus on women in Victoria. However, it is applicable to women in Western Australia and the WA context.