The event, supported by the Church Commissioners and Dame Caroline Spelman MP, brought together people and organisations from across the country who work with women in prison, in the community through Women’s Centres, housing providers and MPs. The event showcased powerful examples of how people are working to drive change for disadvantaged women.
Bishop Rachel said, “This event comes during a turbulent time in parliament and so we want to help refocus the emphasis back to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our country, who may feel forgotten and whose voices are often not heard in our national conversation. I hope that people were challenged to take action in ways that will help provide a different path for some women in the justice system, giving them opportunities to flourish.”
Bishop Christine said, “We know from statistics that many women lose their homes while in custody and 60% of women prisoners may not have homes to go to on release. Safe, secure housing is crucial in breaking the cycle of offending and the harm it causes to our communities, to the women involved and to their families. My hope is that this event will play its part in raising such an important issue and provide opportunities for housing providers and organisations working with disadvantaged women to find more solutions to this problem.”
Speakers included Gabrielle Lee, Governor at HMP Low Newton in County Durham, Caroline Walker, Head of Community at Cheltenham Borough Homes and Laura Seebohm from Changing Lives. We also had the privilege of hearing a personal story from Rachel who had experienced first hand the trauma of prison and losing her home and family.
This event took place in Prisons Week (13th – 19th October), when Christians from across denominations raise awareness and pray for all those affected by prisons and criminal justice.