On Wednesday (17 of March) leading national charity, the Traveller Movement published new insights into the experiences of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) women in prison.
To date, the experiences of GRT women have largely been overlooked and poorly understood by service providers and policy makers alike. This research brings together the existing literature and discusses how broader policy debates and discussions of wider reform can impact Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women.
The report highlights the different and diverse range of insights within the ‘GRT’ cohort, as well as the varied and distinct experiences of women who identify as Gypsy, Roma and Traveller inside the Criminal Justice System.
The report calls for policymakers to implement a series of recommendations, including:
- A call for increase in the use of Out Of Court Disposals (OOCDs) for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Women, and also for consistent ethnic monitoring to capture how these are implemented by the Police.
- A call for more integrated sentencing plans to better support GRT women upon their release.
- Prisons need to become trauma-informed spaces to inform best practice, and providers with expertise in Domestic Abuse and Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as bullying and discrimination should be commissioned by HMPPS to develop a better understanding of the intersecting needs of GRT women.
- Roma ethnicity must be introduced into ethnic monitoring by Criminal Justice organisations to allow the experiences of Roma women to be better recorded and better included in calls for reform.
Commenting on the report, Sophie Wainwright from the Traveller Movement said: This timely report compiles the little information that is known about Gypsy, Roma Traveller women in prison, and provides some contextualisation with insights from frontline workers. We know from Ministry of Justice statistics that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women are overrepresented in the Criminal Justice system, but we know very little about their experiences once "inside" the prison estate. This report shows they are more likely to be carers, to have children, and they experience the loss of family separation most profoundly. While this report is a welcome addition to knowledge, we urge HMPPS to adapt their services to meet the specific needs of GRT and other vulnerable female offenders.
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Notes to Editor
* The Traveller Movement (TM) is a national community development policy 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.