Health Needs Of Female Offenders In Scotland Criminology Essay

Over the last decennary the figure of adult females being imprisoned in Scotland has increased dramatically where the mean day-to-day prison population of female wrongdoers now exceeds 400 ( The Scots Government 2012 ) . In numerical footings adult females wrongdoers still constitute a really little proportion of the overall prison population, nevertheless the important rise which has been evidenced over the last 10 old ages is confusing where a 69 % addition in female imprisonment has been witnessed compared to merely 25 % within the male prison population ( 2001-2011 ) ( REF ) . Evidence has indicated that one of the drivers for this ascertained addition is owed to adult females being convicted for longer periods of clip for comparatively minor offenses ( McIvor & A ; Burman 2011 ) .Women placed within the Criminal Justice System ( CJS ) have been found to be a peculiarly vulnerable population. Imprisonment nowadayss profound effects on the already complex wellness attention demands of these adult females but besides carries with it a wider societal and economic impact, in position of their function as female parents and carers ( REF ) . The overall wellness of female wrongdoers is hapless with a big proportion of those incarcerated holding more diverse and complex demands than those observed within the general female population. Many of these adult females will endure important physical and mental wellness issues which are frequently coupled with substance abuse dependences and backgrounds of violent or sexual maltreatment ( REF ) . A big proportion have helter-skelter life styles which consequences in many female wrongdoers accessing health care services for the first clip upon imprisonment to handle ongoing and undiagnosed conditions.

The chief intent of this essay is to discourse the importance of understanding the wellness demands of female wrongdoers in Scotland. The combination of the addition in the figure of females being imprisoned along with grounds of complex wellness demands of this population present a major public wellness challenge which needs to be addressed. Not merely is at that place a direct public wellness concern to the person who is imprisoned but besides a wider public wellness impact on the households and kids of the aforesaid persons.

This will be achieved by looking at the drivers for the addition in the figure of adult females being imprisoned, and the demand to understand their complex wellness demands in order to supply the right execution of services to suit these demands. The concluding portion of this essay will set frontward a public wellness attack which would let the wellness demands of the female population to be explored.


The logical thinking behind analyzing the wellness demands of the female piquing population is on the premiss of the writer ‘s current function as a Public Health Officer within the Forth Valley Public Health Department along with the writer ‘s peculiar involvement in female offending and its wider public wellness impacts. The writer ‘s largest remit focuses upon the health care demands and proviso of services for captives within Forth Valley ‘s three distinguishable prison constitutions ( HMP Cornton Vale, HMP Polmont Young Offenders Institute and HMP Glenochil ) . Recent research carried out by the writer into the demand for the proviso of Independent Advocacy services highlighted the big figure of captives with mental wellness issues within Forth Valley prisons. During this research it was noted that there were important spreads in cognition with respects to attesting the wellness demands of the female prison population within Scotland. Evidence is required to guarantee that the right commissariats of services are available to run into the health care needs and frequently complex demands of the female prison population. In bend this will assist orient services to the specific persons needs supplying a distinguishable individual centred attack to healthcare for female wrongdoers. The proposed survey tantrums within the range of public wellness research as NHS Boards now have the complete duty for captive health care which includes guaranting they have entree to the right proviso of services which meet their demands.

Overview of female piquing in Scotland

Tendency in mean day-to-day population

Within Scotland the ascertained prison population on 30th June 2012 was 8,178 of which 94 % were male ( The Scots Government 2012 ) . For work forces, the rate of imprisonment for all ages in the general population is 237 per 100,000 and for adult females, 10 per 100,000, where work forces are 24 times every bit likely as adult females to be imprisoned ( Prison Reform Trust 2012 ) . Piquing by adult females differs in a figure of of import ways from piquing by work forces: it is less common, less frequent and less serious ( McIvor 2007 ; Burman 2004 ) . The important rise in the figure of adult females in detention can mostly be explained by the increasing usage of puting adult females on remand ( REF ) . Over the 10 twelvemonth period of 2001-02 to 2010-11 there was a 46 % addition in the figure of adult females received into detention on remand in Scotland ( REF ) . This addition equated to 1,893 adult females of whom merely 30 % went on to have a tutelary sentence. The overall mean day-to-day female prison population over the 10 twelvemonth period ( 2001-02 to 2011-2012 ) has shown increasing tendencies every twelvemonth, where the overall figure has about doubled ( Figure 1 ) .

Figure 1:

Tendencies in offenses committed

Males and females vary in the offenses and offenses that they commit although the forms of offense are consistent twelvemonth on twelvemonth ( REF ) . Women continue to perpetrate comparatively minor offenses where the sentenced female population commit higher Numberss of dishonesty and other offenses which consist chiefly of drug related offenses. The sentenced male population commits higher Numberss of non-sexual offenses of force and offenses of indecency along with more assorted offenses ( REF ) .

The addition in the immature wrongdoer females who have been straight sentenced has been of concern within Scots prisons with an addition of 13 % against the 17 % lessening observed in the immature male piquing population ( REF ) . In 2009-10, 21 tutelary sentences were imposed on kids under the age of 16 which will evidentially increase the immature wrongdoer population ( REF ) . The mean day-to-day prison population by type of detention can be seen in Figure 2.

Figure 2:

Tendencies in sentence length

The most common sentence length for the mean day-to-day female wrongdoer population is 6 months – less than 2 old ages followed by sentences of 2 years- less than 4 old ages ( 2002-02/2011-12 ) . The mean length of tutelary sentences has increased from 228 yearss in 1999-2000 to 271 yearss in 2008-09 ( REF ) . Sentence length is influenced by many factors, including a political attack with the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill observing that:

“ Short sentences merely do n’t work. They are uneffective and of no practical benefit to communities. “ ( Gardham 2009 )

As of the 6th August 2010 a statutory given against short periods of imprisonment was decreed by the Scots Parliament ( REF ) . The Criminal Justice and Licensing ( Scotland ) Act provinces:

“ A tribunal must non go through a sentence of imprisonment for a term of three months or less on a individual unless the tribunal considers that no other method of covering with the individual is appropriate. ”


The Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice ( SCCJR ) produced a key papers which considered the possible drivers for the increasing tendency in female imprisonment observed in Scotland ( REF ) . The study evidenced several factors including an addition in the figure of adult females looking before the tribunal, being remanded in detention and being imprisoned for longer periods of clip. There was besides a significant addition in the figure of adult females perpetrating drug offenses which carry heavier tutelary punishments ; in 2010 24 % of adult females were functioning sentences for drug offenses ( REF ) . The study found no grounds that adult females were increasing their engagement in offense, meaning that this disproportional addition is more likely attributed to an increasing usage of tutelary sentences for adult females who have committed less serious offenses ( REF ) .

Comparisons Nationally and Internationally

The ascertained addition in the figure of females being imprisoned over the last decennary is non a Scots phenomenon. This increased tendency has been observed throughout the UK and Internationally. The imprisonment rate per 100,000 of the population in Australia is 130 ( Gelb 2003 ) , which is merely somewhat lower than the UK at 149 and Scotland at 146 ( Prison Reform Trust 2012 ) . The United States the rate per 100,000 of the population is a astonishing 716, where adult females wrongdoers represented 17 % of all wrongdoers in 2003 ( Bloom et al. 2004 )

Female piquing from a policy position

The Bangkok Rules ( besides known as the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women ) ( REF ) set out the minimal criterions for the intervention of adult females wrongdoers whether remanded or sentenced and were adopted by the UK Government in 2010 ( REF ) . These regulations were designed to make full the spread in International criterions against the background of increasing tendencies of female imprisonment. The International importance of these regulations should non be underestimated ; they are the first regulations to turn to the environing issues of kids of maternal imprisonment ( Ministry of Justice 2012 ) . Despite the acceptance of the Bangkok Rules within the UK there is still a spread between seting policies into pattern to carry through their demands. The incorporation of the regulations into condemning policies and statute law still remained debatable ( Gullberg 2013 ) .

The addition in the figure of adult females being imprisoned has seen a rise in the publication of many influential studies. One of these was the Corston Review ( 2007 ) which was conducted in visible radiation of six deceases of female wrongdoers in HMP Styal ( REF ) . This reappraisal outlined the demand for a holistic, incorporate and women-centred attack in the CJS and produced 43 recommendations. This reappraisal highlighted a broad scope of issues in the prison estate including foregrounding the high rates of mental wellness, substance abuse and anterior physical and sexual maltreatment.

In 2012 the Scots Commission on Women Offenders ( Angiolini 2012 ) produced a reappraisal of the CJS in Scotland, where the Commission put frontward 37 recommendations to better the results of female wrongdoers. Thirty-three of the recommendations were later accepted by the Scots Government. Recommendations seven to ten explicitly note the mental wellness demands of female piquing population seting frontward a practical proposal to turn to these wellness demands ( Table 1 ) . An allotment for 2014-2015 of 20 million lbs has been given to the SPS to aim the wellness demands of the female prison population ( The Scots Government 2013 ) In order accomplish true equality for female wrongdoers it will be polar that the Government recognises that the wellness demands of female wrongdoers is significantly different from their male opposite numbers and will therefore require specific wellness intercessions which are gender specific ( REF ) .

Table 1:




Mental wellness services and attacks should be developed in such a manner that facilitates adult females with marginal personality upset to entree them


Mental wellness programmes and intercessions for short-run captives are designed so that they can go on to be delivered in a seamless manner in the community


The Scots Government ‘s mental wellness scheme must put a greater focal point on adult females wrongdoers, specifically the proviso of services to turn to injury, self-harm and marginal personality upset


An pressing reappraisal of the proviso and resourcing of services for adult females with marginal personality upset and post-traumatic emphasis upset ( in relation to old maltreatment and disregard ) should be carried out

Social correlatives of offense

The overall hazard factors of going an wrongdoer begin early in life and increase throughout childhood. A important proportion of captive persons come from households and communities who live in economic, societal, material and emotional poorness ( Graham 2007 ) .

Surveies comparing the lives of “ delinquents ” to “ non- delinquents ” have identified a figure of hazard factors for those who offend ( Blackburn 1995 ) . These include reduced household interactions ; “ parental divergence ” , household break and socioeconomic want. There is besides a disproportionately high prevalence of mental unwellness in both remand and sentenced captives ( Department of Health 2001 ) which adds to the complexness of captive demands.

A study on Social Exclusion and Imprisonment in Scotland investigated the links between societal want and imprisonment rates ( Houchin 2005 ) . The consequences indicated that regardless of the age of the sample population the chance of imprisonment was extremely correlated with degrees of want. It is of import to observe nevertheless that association is non causing ( Bhopal 2008 ) as there is neither sufficient nor necessary cause that societal want is a stipulation for imprisonment. This can be concluded by detecting that there are many people who live in disadvantaged communities who ne’er enter prison and every bit there are persons in prison who do non come from disadvantaged vicinities.

Social effects on the incarcerated female

Womans have a different experience whilst being imprisoned compared to their fellow male wrongdoers where the effects can be far more profound. The effects of maternal imprisonment on their households are by and large more riotous than the effects of paternal imprisonment ( Davies 2011 ) . Parental imprisonment has a dynamic impact upon kids, who frequently become the disregarded victims of imprisonment ( Loureiro 2009 ) . Womans are more likely than work forces to be the exclusive attention giver for kids with on mean two- tierces of adult females in prison being parents of dependent kids ( Corston 2007 ) . Around tierce of adult females who are imprisoned will lose their occupations, places, ownerships and kids during their prison sentence ( Niven and Stewart 2005 ) . They may besides happen it hard to keep household ties due to the geographical location and distribution of adult females ‘s prisons.

“ Many adult females still define themselves and are defined by others by their function in the familyaˆ¦aˆ¦To become a captive is about by definition to go a bad female parent ”

( Baroness Hale, Corston Report 2007 )

Each twelvemonth in Scotland, more than 16,000 kids are separated from a parent through imprisonment, with about 1,850 separated from an imprisoned female parent ( Scots Government 2011 ) . This figure suggests that in Scotland more kids experience a parent ‘s imprisonment than a parent ‘s divorce. The consequence on the kids of captive parents can include a higher hazard of future imprisonment themselves, higher hazard of jobs with physical and mental wellness and regressive behavior ( Loureiro 2009 ; Glover 2009 ) .

Healthcare within the prison context

Healthcare bringing for captives has historically been the exclusive duty of the Scottish Prison Service ( SPS ) and non the National Health Service ( NHS ) . Following the transportation of duty for health care from the SPS to the NHS in November 2011 ( The Scots Government, 2011 ) there is now a demand for captives to hold entree to the same quality and appropriate scope of health care services as those members of the populace with similar demands. The accent is on accomplishing equity for health care and in making so tackle inequalities in prisons ( REF ) .

The Scottish Prison Services ( SPS ) steering rules province that:

“ Healthcare in prisons should be tantamount to that delivered in the community, that prison is portion of public wellness and that the prison scene is potentially an chance for wellness publicity. ”

The transportation of duty for primary health care services to the NHS within Scotland was driven by undertaking wellness inequalities, meeting accepted international criterions, better continuity of attention and sustainability ( NHS Health Scotland 2011 ) . The prison environment presents a ambitious topographic point to pattern health care and be a patient due to loss of autonomy, unequal power and restricted pick ( Graham 2007 ) depriving the person of their self- liberty wholly ( Anaraki, Plugge & A ; Hill 2003 ) . Healthcare is available to captives from the minute of admittance, where testing purposes to place and turn to captive health care needs. The increased Numberss of adult females being captive bring with it an increased demand and challenge for health care services within the prison scene ( The Scots Government 2008 ) . Female wrongdoer demands include gender specific 1s such as the demand for gynecological services, pregnancy attention and the attention of immature babes within the prison scene ( Edgar 2004 ) . Imprisonment regardless of the person ‘s gender, age or length of imprisonment can include harmful psychological and emotional effects which can frequently worsen bing underlying unmet health care demands ( REF ) .

Health demands of female wrongdoers

There is considerable research to propose that the prison population are at greater hazard of developing mental wellness jobs compared with people of a similar age and gender in the community ( Liebling 1993 ) . Mental wellness, substance abuse and self-harm demands are all prevalent within the female prison population although prevalence informations into the full extent of mental wellness upsets within the prison is missing ( REF ) . Existing literature indicates that the bulk of captives will hold one or more mental wellness jobs and may besides hold a double diagnosing of substance abuse ( REF ) . Not merely does mental wellness straight impact an person ‘s quality of life but has besides been linked to physical wellness, wellness related behaviors and mortality ( REF ) .

The Office of National Statistics Survey ( ONS )

The ONS study ( Singleton et al 1998 ) collected baseline informations of the mental wellness of male and female, remand and sentenced captives across all prisons in England and Wales. The survey described the extent and nature of mental wellness jobs among captives. Sleep jobs, general concern, weariness and depression were prevailing among all captives particularly those on remand with 90 % of captives holding one or more of the 5 psychiatric upsets studied ( psychosis, neuroticism, personality upsets, risky imbibing and drug dependences ) . Further findings can be seen in Table 2. — — explain the findings in the tabular array

Table 2

Mental wellness upset

Prevalence within the prison population

Neurotic upsets

55 % of captives had some signifier of ‘neurotic upset ‘

Ratess of neurotic upsets in remand and sentenced captives were much higher in adult females than in work forces

Neurotic upsets were found in 59 % of work forces on remand and 40 % of sentenced work forces compared with 76 % of adult females on remand and 63 % of sentenced adult females

Functional psychosis

10 % of captives displayed symptoms of functional psychosis ; the figure in the general population is 0.4 %

Schizophrenia or delusional jobs were the most prevailing

Personality upsets

65 % had some signifier of personality upset ; 78 % of male remand and 64 % of male sentenced and 50 % of female captives on remand and sentenced

The most common was anti-social personality upset

Scots prevalence informations

The findings of a survey into the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity among remand captives in Scotland ( Davidson et al 1995 ) reported the prevalence steps of the sample population ( 389 remand captives ( 18 adult females ) ) as ;

2 % major psychiatric upset

14 % terrible depression

40 % depression

34 % anxiousness

40 % disturbed slumber

The prevalence of terrible and digesting mental wellness jobs in Scots prisons was estimated to be 4.5 % ( The Scots Government 2008 ) which is four times the degree of the general population. Schizophrenia and bi-polar affectional upsets being the most common jobs identified within the survey population. The prevalence on admittance to Scottish prisons can be compared to the prevalence in the community ( SPS 2007 ) ( Table 3 ) . The prevalence of personality upsets, schizophrenic disorder and depression are well higher between the admitted populations compared to those in the community.

Table 3: Prevalence of wellness position of those on admittance to prison and those in the community

Health position

Prevalence on admittance to prison ( females )

Prevalence in the community


36 %

0.5 %


25 %

5 % ( approx )

Personality upsets

66 % ( approx )

5 % ( approx )

The high prevalence of mental wellness demands grounds from Singleton, Davidson and SPS is substantiated


In HMP Cornton Vale the figure of mental wellness referrals received was 837 in 2011 which is peculiarly high in comparing to the mean day-to-day population.

Case Loads

An norm of 1 in 2 wrongdoers in HMP Cornton Vale


In HMP Cornton Vale 16 captives were transferred to a psychiatric unit in 2011


Self- injury within the prison is higher for female wrongdoers than males. Wrongdoers identified as being at hazard of self-harm and/or self-destructions are placed on the ‘Act 2 Care ‘ registry. Over the period of May 2011 to April 2012, 221 adult females in Cornton Vale were placed on the registry. Consequences from The ONS study reported that self-destructive ideas were really high: 46 % of female remand captives had ideas of self-destruction over their life-time, 35 % in the last twelvemonth and 12 % in the hebdomad prior to interview.

Substance abuse



Drug and intoxicant dependence are common variables for piquing ( Liebling 2007 )

Examples of drug and intoxicant usage before imprisonment, where intoxicant dependence is peculiarly high.


Survey Question

Offender population




Intoxicated at point of committee

42 %

50 %

Alcohol encroaching upon ability to keep down a occupation

24 %

25 %

Concerned intoxicant would be an issue upon release

21 %

24 %

Adverse consequence on relationship with their households

34 %

38 %


Drug use an issue in the community

57 %

40 %

Under the influence of drugs at the clip of the offense

59 %

44 %

Receiving intervention for drug dependence at clip of offense

35 %

20 %

Committed offense to acquire money for drugs

34 %

18 %

Used drugs in 12 months prior to captivity

71 %

61 %

Table 11- Social exclusion features of the female and male Scots offender population 2011

Beginning: Carnie J, Broderick R. Prisoner Survey 2011. Scots Prison Survey 2011. Scots Prison Service 13th Survey Bulletin, Strategy Unit

Prisoners are besides more likely to be maltreaters of illegal drugs and intoxicant than other sectors of the community.

3.5.1 Alcohol

In 2011, 42 % of female wrongdoers reported being intoxicated at clip of perpetrating their discourtesy, compared to half ( 50 % ) of male wrongdoers.

Fewer female captives ( 24 % ) in 2011 felt that imbibing affected their ability to keep down a occupation compared to 29 % in 2009. This brings the degree to a comparable figure with male captives ( 25 % ) .

A fifth of adult females captives ( 21 % ) were concerned that intoxicant would be an issue upon their release, which is somewhat lower than male captives ( 24 % ) .

A 3rd of adult females captives ( 34 % ) reported that imbibing had affected their relationship with their household compared to 38 % in male captives.

3.5.2 Drugs

More female captives than male captives reported drug usage to be a job to them in the community ( 50 % females ; 40 % males ) .

Higher Numberss of female wrongdoers stated that they were under the influence of drugs at the clip of their offense ( 595 females ; 44 % males )

A 3rd of adult females ( 35 % ) were having intervention for drug abuse before imprisonment compared to a fifth of male captives ( 20 % ) .

34 % of female captives had committed their offense to acquire money for drugs compared to 18 % of male captives.

Seven in 10s ( 71 % ) female captives reported that they had used drugs in the 12 months prior to coming into prison, compared to 61 % of male captives

The prison environment itself can worsen the exposure of captives ( Liebling 2007 ) , where many adult females experience psychological emphasis of loss of contact with kids and substance abuse backdown.

Current service proviso for female wrongdoers

Independent Advocacy proviso from July 2013


CBT therapy

Mental wellness scheme

Public wellness attack – 700 ( 2hrs )

The research method of pick for researching the wellness demands of the female prison population will be to transport out a wellness needs impact appraisal.

The research inquiry

What are the wellness demands of the Scots female prison population?

Are current prison wellness attention services tailored to the peculiar wellness attention demands of the Scots female prison population?

Strengths and failings of utilizing the proposed method

Better wellness, better attention

Carry out the HNA in Cornton Vale, despite adult females now being held in X, Y, Z


Many surveies have focused entirely on mental wellness and substance misue within the prison population without entirely measuring the full wellness attention demands of the female piquing population.

Drivers for imprisonment

Poor wellness in comparing to the general population

The demand for a individual centred tailored attack to this vulnerable populations wellness attention needs including guaranting that they have the proviso of services tailored to these demands.

Holistic attack should be the norm