Howard League publications

Mitigating Motherhood: A study of the impact of motherhood on sentencing decisions in England and Wales

Articles by the three winners of the 2013 John Sunley prize will be published by the Howard League throughout the academic year. This article by Shona Minson explores the impact of motherhood as a mitigating influence on sentencing decisions in England and Wales.

The John Sunley Prize celebrates excellence and the impact of post graduate research into penal issues. More information.

46pp ISBN ISBN 978-1-905994-76-2 Download this publication

Women in Prison: consensual and coercive sex

This is the second in a series of briefing papers for the Commission on Sex in Prison. The briefing looks at consensual and coercive sex in womenís prisons. Relationships between women prisoners are very different to those found in menís prisons, and women in prison have different sexual health needs to men in prison. This briefing paper is based on the written and oral evidence submitted to the Commission on Sex in Prison. 2014, 6pp, ISBN 978-1-905994-75-5

Free to download (PDF 226 KB)

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Inquiry on girls: From courts to custody

The report presents the findings of a year-long inquiry into girls run by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Women in the Penal System, chaired by Baroness Corston and Kate Green MP. It reveals that there is a lack of awareness among magistrates of the specific needs of girls, that courts confuse welfare needs with high risk of reoffending and as a result increase the severity of the sentence, and that there is a lack of gender-specific services for girls once sentenced.

ISBN 978-1-905994-49-6,

Free to download here

Out of place: The policing and criminalisation of sexually exploited girls and young women

The Howard League for Penal Reform commissioned Professor Jo Phoenix to undertake research into the policing and criminalisation of sexually exploited girls and young women. The research intends to improve understanding of the way in which practitioners make decisions about whether or not to prosecute sexually exploited girls. ISBN 978-1-905994-50-2

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Hard copies can be purchased at £10 plus p&p

Keeping Girls out of the penal system

This briefing by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System coming out of its inquiry into girls reveals that girls are less violent and committing fewer crimes despite common misconceptions that girls have become increasingly criminal and recommends a return to restorative policing where officers can exercise professional discretion and resolve matters informally and immediately. (2012)

6pp, ISBN 978-1-905994-44-1 Free to download here

Voice of a Child

In 2010 at least 17,000 children were separated from their mother due to imprisonment.  This report draws on interviews with children to document the impact that the imprisonment of their mother has on their lives: including long term emotional, social, material and psychological damage, with little or no dedicated support.  The Howard League first looked at this issue in the 1990s and this revised edition demonstrates how the childrenís voices are still relevant today. The research was published to coincide with the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child Day of General Discussion on prisonersí children in September 2011.

30pp, price £10, ISBN 978-1-905994-40-3 Purchase your copy

Women in the penal system: Second report on women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system

This report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in the Penal System chaired by Baroness Corston reviews progress made by the government on implementing the recommendations outlined in the original Corston Report. (2011)

10pp, ISBN 978-14-905994-26-7,

Free to download

Prison Information Bulletin 2: Women and girls in the penal system

The second in a series of bulletins provides facts and figures on the female prison population, sentencing, community programmes and the impact of imprisonment on women, girls and their families.  It is an essential tool for all those concerned about women and girls in the penal system. (2006)

34pp, £5, ISBN 0 -903683-92-X 

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'Care, concern and carpets': How women's prisons can use first night in custody centres to reduce distress

This report argues that the early period in prison custody is a time of heightened risk of self-harm and suicide. It offers practical guidance on how first night in custody arrangements can be used to help reduce distress amongst newly arrived prisoners.   (2006)

22pp, £10.00, ISBN 090368389-X

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Advice, understanding and underwear: working with girls in prison

This new report is essential reading for anyone working with girls and young women in the criminal justice or social care systems. It looks at current provision for girls and provides a useful insight into the impact of imprisonment on the lives of young women. (2004). 

24pp, £10.00, ISBN 090368381 4

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Suicide and self-harm prevention: repetitive self-harm among women and girls in prison

The rate of self-harm is highest among women and girls in prison and many self-harmers will cut and burn themselves day after day. This report uses the voices of women and girls in prison to try to understand their motivations for self-harm and provides strategies for supporting them based on the views of prison staff and policy makers. (2001) 

20pp, £5.00, ISBN 090368360-1

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A chance to break the cycle: women and the drug treatment and testing order

More than 2,500 drug dependent women each year experience prison. These women could be eligible for the Drug Treatment and Testing Order. Research by the Howard League has shown that the Drug Treatment and Testing Order has the potential, if properly targeted and resourced for drug treatment to break the cycle between drug use and offending.  (2000)

19pp, £5.00, ISBN 090368349-0

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Life in the shadows

There is very little known about the prison experience of the women serving life sentences. This report examines what happens to women lifers, how they are treated and the conditions they live in. (1999)

24pp, £4.00, ISBN 090368337-7

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