Deputy Minister praises service transforming lives of female offenders
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt MS has praised the work of the Women’s Pathfinder initiative, which helps women in the criminal justice system in south Wales to build better lives that are free from crime.
The Women’s Pathfinder Whole System Approach provides early intervention and targeted support to female offenders, supporting them with issues such as alcohol and substance misuse, mental health problems and improving family relationships.
It aims to reduce the number of women in the criminal justice system, reduce reoffending, and help women to live safer, healthier lives.
The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, joined a virtual tour of Ystrad Mynach custody suite, which is one of the routes through which women can be referred to the service, and heard the personal experiences of some of those who have been supported.
Jane Hutt said: “Keeping women and young people from entering the criminal justice system is a clear priority for the Welsh Government, and we are working hard in our devolved areas of influence within crime and justice. We are funding a number of initiatives to promote positive engagement, and to address the needs of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“The Women’s Pathfinder Whole System Approach and 18-25 Early Intervention Service is an excellent example of this. This virtual visit was an invaluable opportunity to hear from people supported by the programme.”
The service launched in October 2019 and is jointly commissioned by the Gwent and South Wales Police and Crime Commissioners, Welsh Government, and HMPPS in Wales, and delivered by the Future 4 Consortium of G4S, Safer Wales, Include and Llamau.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Eleri Thomas MBE said: “I was pleased to welcome the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, to a virtual visit of the Women’s Pathfinder Whole System Approach. The service provides a much-needed person-centred approach that offers women the support they need to turn their lives around.
“The service is a shining example of an effective collaboration between public, private and third sector organisations, working together to support some of the most vulnerable people in our society, reducing offending and helping to keep our communities safe.”
South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Rt Hon Alun Michael said:
“The approach needs to be one of asking, when a woman is first drawn into the Criminal Justice System, what the circumstances are and why the offending behaviour has taken place. If you don't understand the behaviour, then it is all too easy for the system to be both unfair and inefficient - whereas in contrast if you understand the background it is often possible to deal with the behaviour and also turnaround the life of the individual involved.
“By taking a whole systems approach, the Women’s Pathfinder Programme is improving outcomes through early intervention and prompt, positive action, coordinating necessary interventions to support long lasting change and build resilience, whilst at the same time realising significant cost savings for policing, in that for every £1 spent on the Diversion Scheme, a saving of £2.35 is made.”
Support staff work closely with the police within custody suites to ensure that women are offered support at the earliest opportunity.
Chief Constable for Gwent Police, Pam Kelly said: “We are extremely pleased to be part of this joint work that has the potential to make such a difference to the lives of vulnerable women. Offending behaviour is often the result of other factors and getting an early intervention make a real difference to these women, and helps reduce the impact of their actions on our communities.”