While it works hard at a practical level to ensure the Re-Unite project develops successfully, key partner Commonweal Housing is also busy raising awareness of the project to external audiences
Five years on from the Corston Report
Commonweal and Housing for Women jointly responded to the Justice Select Committee’s enquiry on women offenders. This enquiry aims to review progress and examine current strategy and practice with respect to women offenders and those at risk of offending.
We highlighted the Re-Unite programme and made a number of policy recommendations, including:
- Calling upon the Justice Committee to push for prison induction and reception processes (along with resettlement support and advice) to identify and focus on those women with children at the earliest opportunity should they receive custodial sentences.
- It is widely understood that accommodation and parenting responsibilities are key aspects of helping women to address behaviours and minimise re-offending (more so than male offenders where employment is a greater factor). Therefore we encouraged the Government to adopt the position set out by Baroness Corston, that sentences in the community should be the norm for women convicted of non-violent offences, and that alternatives to custody should be designed to allow for the specific needs of women such as childcare responsibilities.
The full response can be read here.
Jane Glover provided comment about Re-Unite for Inside Housing in the 19 October edition. It highlighted the impossible housing protocols that make it so difficult for women exiting custody to be reunited with their children. The article and comments can also be viewed on the Inside Housing website.
Ashley Horsey, Commonweal CEO, attended a recent speech by Prime Minister David Cameron on the criminal justice system. Cameron stressed the Government’s desire to focus on rehabilitation and workable pathways that avoid re-offending. Horsey subsequently took the opportunity to write to the Prime Minister highlighting the success and significant further potential of Re-Unite. The letter can be viewed here.