This project will provide free legal advice and support/intervention to women and disabled prisoners in England & Wales. In doing so we will advocate for the protection of their human rights, which are compromised by the general imbalance of power in prisons between staff and prisoners. Our interventions and legal advice (given by telephone, mail, and face-to-face outreach clinics in prisons) will ensure that the human rights of women and disabled prisoners are defended and upheld.
Women and disabled prisoners are often overlooked and discriminated against within the prison system: (1) There are very few women's prisons in the UK, which means that mothers are often imprisoned far away from their children. (2) Often prisons fail to treat mental health issues and self-harm suffered by vulnerable women prisoners. (3) Disabled prisoners face hardship within the prison system, particularly lack of auxiliary aids (e.g. crutches) or disabled access (e.g. wheelchair ramps).
Through the legal expertise and intervention of our lawyers who specialise in working with these particular client groups, we will advocate for: (1) Childcare Resettlement Leave to be provided for imprisoned mothers to care for their children's needs. (2) Healthcare and psychological needs of vulnerable women prisoners to be assessed and treated. (3) Disabled prisoners to get auxiliary aids, and wheelchair access to prison workshops and educational classes.
Potential long-term impacts include: (1) Maintaining and developing child-mother relationships which will benefit children and mothers (through ongoing maternal support and care). (2) Better mental and physical health for women ex-prisoners starting afresh. (3) Disabled prisoners benefiting from increased employment prospects after their sentence, having accessed skills and educational workshops during imprisonment.