Hibiscus Initiatives, Agenda: the Alliance for women and girls at risk, Muslim Women In Prison, Zahid Mubarek Trust and Women In Prison, and Criminal Justice Alliance have developed a 10-point action plan for change to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities and discrimination against Black, Asian, minoritised and migrant women in contact with the criminal justice system.
The 10-point action plan, developed through consultation with women with lived experience as well as government officials and specialist organisations, provides clear steps that are needed to make a real difference in the lives of the most marginalised women in our community.
Too-often ignored, women face the ‘double disadvantage’ of gender inequality and racism when they encounter the criminal justice system. This stops them from getting the support they need both within the system and when they try to rebuild their lives outside, leaving them at risk of reoffending.
Women’s experiences of violence and abuse can drive them into the criminal justice system, with many serving short sentences for non-violent offences. Many face further abuse and vulnerability as they experience the ‘ripple effects’ of criminal justice involvement like worsening mental health, isolation, and poverty. For Black, Asian, minoritised and migrant women these experiences can be compounded by racism and discrimination. In many cases women can face additional disadvantage in the form of faith inequalities when they encounter the criminal justice system.
The government must urgently follow through with their commitment to addressing gender and racial inequalities for Black, Asian, minoritised and migrant women. By working together across political parties, specialist organisations and alongside women with lived experience in the criminal justice system, we can create real change and ensure some of the most marginalised women are no longer overlooked.