The Traveller Movement welcomes yesterday’s announcement, by the Justice Secretary, to temporarily release from prison low risk pregnant women and mother’s in Mother and Baby Units.
The MoJ has stated, the women will be released once they have been risk assessed and found suitable accommodation. The government statement can be found here:
It is the first important step, in the right direction, to start reducing our overcrowded prison population and rightly protecting those in our prisons who are most vulnerable.
We hope this bold move, will set a precedent for the CJS to more routinely consider alternatives to custody, for other vulnerable groups currently in prisons.
This should include Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) people, who have shorter life expectancy, are massively over represented in the prison population and, within the prison population, have higher rates of self harm and suicide.
CEO of the Traveller Movement Yvonne MacNamara said: It is more important now, than ever, that we start to look at effective alternatives to custody. If we can successfully introduce such measures in a time of crisis, we must surely continue once this pandemic has passed. Anything less would be a backward step.
Patricia Stapleton, policy manager
Notes to Editor
The Traveller Movement (TM) is a national community development policy and voice charity who campaign against discrimination, promote inclusion, participation and community engagement for the Irish Traveller and Gypsy communities in Britain. TM is proud to work in partnership with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities together with service providers and policy makers across the UK to better promote social inclusion and community cohesion.