Women In The Criminal Justice System: The Corston Report 

What is the Corston Report? 
In 2006, Baroness Corston was commissioned by the Home Office to study women in prison and what measures could be taken to avoid women who have certain vulnerabilities being involved in offending behaviour and as a result being sentenced to prison. This was prompted by the deaths of six women at HM Prison Styal, as well as the 27% increase in women’s prison population from 2000 onwards.

Baroness Corston produced a report entitled A Review of Women with Particular Vulnerabilities in the Criminal Justice System, Baroness Corston, (London) Home Office 2007. There were other reports that delved into this topic prior to 2006 such as The Commission on Women and the Criminal Justice System in March 2004. However, The Corston Report remains the most in-depth and significant examinations of the causes of women’s pathways into offending behaviour and includes insights that relate to the work of Open Criminal Justice Services.

What does the Corston Report say?
The Corston Report made 43 recommendations including the following: 

  • A reduction of strip-searching in women’s prisons

  • The reservation of custodial sentences for the most extreme and violent offenders only

  • Improvement to prison conditions

  • Improved governance and cross-departmental working

  • The development of a network of one-stop-shop community provision for women at risk of engaging in offending behaviour

  • The more consistent use of community sentences

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