Service transforming lives of female offenders in Gwent receives commendation

20th October 2021

An initiative that supports female offenders in Gwent, ensuring their wellbeing and starting them on the journey to recovery, has been recognised with a commendation from the Howard League for Penal Reform.

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.

It received the commendation as part of the 2021 Howard League Community Awards which recognises successful schemes that reduce crime and transform lives.

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.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “The Women’s Pathfinder Whole System Approach ensures that women and girls who come into the criminal justice system are looked after, and that their long term health and wellbeing is considered throughout their criminal justice journey.

“This commendation is well deserved. 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: “This is welcome recognition of an approach on which we have worked together for several years, reducing crime by recognising the causes and tackling them together It is a practical demonstration of the value of co-operation, proving that we can achieve more together than we can achieve alone.

“It is based on asking, when a woman is first drawn into the Criminal Justice System, why the offending behaviour has taken place, what are her circumstances and offering a new path in life through the programme.  The commendation from Howard League Community Awards is testament to the approach we have taken collaboratively across South Wales & Gwent, improving outcomes through early intervention and prompt, positive action, coordinating necessary interventions to support long lasting change and build resilience.”

Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said: “Reducing reoffending and diverting people away from a lifestyle associated with crime is a core part of how we keeping the communities of Gwent safe.

“This service, like many other commissioned through the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is making a real difference.

“By engaging proactively with female offenders, we can help people move forward with their lives, in a safe and healthy manner.”