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Church Times: ‘Mentally ill women kept in prison for weeks’
We believe the women’s justice system needs to change. Bishop Rachel has been campaigning to change the systems and sentencing for the most vulnerable women in our communities.
We campaign to raise awareness of the incredible work that takes place through Women’s Centres across this country and especially through the Nelson Trust; a women’s centre based in Gloucester. Here they provide a “one-stop-shop” approach to the wide range of problems faced by women in the Criminal Justice System. The Diocese of Gloucester is proud to have partnered with the Nelson Trust to provide safe, secure housing for women released from prison.
We know that it costs approximately £47k per year to keep a woman in prison, but women’s centres can work effectively with approximately £4k per woman each year. Properly resourced women’s centres can provide an opportunity for women to receive a holistic trauma-informed approach of rehabilitation.
While campaigning for change to the women’s justice system for the last six years, in 2020 Bishop Rachel was invited to become the Anglican Bishop for HM Prisons in England and Wales. In this role, Bishop Rachel is tasked with supporting the network of 300 Anglican Prison Chaplains who share in the front-line care of prisoners, as well as developing relationships and being involved with people and issues across the breadth of the Criminal Justice System. This includes probation and community services, as well as many different charities and organisations. In all of this, Bishop Rachel seeks to use her role as a Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords, not least working for a change to systems and sentencing for the most vulnerable people in our communities, whilst not losing sight of appropriate justice for victims of crime.
To help raise awareness of these issues we run events in the House of Lords or House of Commons to keep momentum behind our message. You can view videos of our events and people sharing powerful stories of their own personal experiences of the justice system below.
House of Lords: diversion from prison to Women’s Centres, event:
Photos from the above event:
The Welcome Directory
Being a place of welcome and support for people released from prison: As Anglican Bishop for Prisons and a patron of The Welcome Directory I want to commend this Directory to you. The Directory lists faith communities who are willing to be a place of welcome and support for people leaving prison. I do hope that some of our worshipping communities in this diocese might consider registering. – Bishop Rachel
Working in partnership:
At an event to highlight the importance of finding suitable accommodation for women released from prison, Rachel from Gloucester shared her extraordinary story: