Changing the Conversation

When I set out 7 years ago to try to change the way mothers were sentenced, I thought there were two big barriers to achieving change. One was judicial thinking (which I decided to make the focus of my work), and the other was public perception. Our criminal justice system is in desperate need of financial investment and political will to bring real change. Secret … Continue reading Changing the Conversation

Response to the Sentencing Council consultation on proposals to provide expanded explanations in existing Sentencing Guidelines

(I am posting this as it may be of use to anyone formulating their own response. Some formatting has been lost from the original so please forgive any odd spacing or numbering!) Introduction I am responding to the expanded explanation found in Appendix A, p.26 M14 ‘M14. Sole or primary carer for dependent relatives This factor is particularly relevant where an offender is on the … Continue reading Response to the Sentencing Council consultation on proposals to provide expanded explanations in existing Sentencing Guidelines

Responding to the Sentencing consultation on sole or primary carer mitigation

The following information and links will assist if you would like to respond to the Sentencing Council’s Consultation on the proposed expanded Guidelines for the mitigating factor ‘sole or primary carer for dependent relatives’, which is of course relevant in cases where the defendant is the mother of dependent children The deadline for responses is the 23rd May 2019 The information about the consultation can … Continue reading Responding to the Sentencing consultation on sole or primary carer mitigation

Human rights and children of prisoners

At the Joint Committee on Human Rights meeting on 13thMarch 2019, Edward Argar MP, Under Secretary at the Ministry of Justice with responsibility for women in the criminal justice system, and Nadhim Zahawi MP, Under Secretary at the Department of Education, with responsibility for Children and Families, attended. They were present to respond to questions from the Committee in the final oral evidence hearing for … Continue reading Human rights and children of prisoners

Do we need another Guideline?

Last week the Sentencing Council published for consultation their plans to provide expanded explanations in offence specific guidelines in England and Wales.  Lord Justice Holroyde, the Council’s Chair, mentioned it during the oral evidence session of the Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into the right to family life for children whose mothers are sentenced to imprisonment, as it includes an expanded explanation of the … Continue reading Do we need another Guideline?

How (not) to treat a child

It was wrong for the judge to speak to the child in that way,  but what is equally problematic  is that although the Court of Appeal found that it was inappropriate for the judge to threaten to send a 14 year old girl to the cells, they made no mention of the inappropriateness of a judge taking a decision to remand, without warning, the sole carer of a 14 year old and a 3 year old. The fact that this was done seemingly without making any enquiries or provision to ensure that the children would be safely cared for in their mother’s absence, should surely have been also deemed ‘inappropriate’ by the Court of Appeal?  Continue reading How (not) to treat a child