This research report bears powerful witness to the harsh impact on women and their children of the short custodial sentences too often meted out in the name of justice. It draws attention to the ripple effects of imprisoning mothers, and the turbulence it causes in the lives of their families. This is a small-scale study but by no means unrepresentative of women’s experience of the criminal justice system. Two thirds of women sentenced to imprisonment in England and Wales receive terms of six months or less, and many of them have been victims of much more serious offences than those they are accused of committing.


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