Clinks seeks to highlight the specific and often neglected needs of women in the criminal justice system and to provide support to the organisations that work with them. We carry out this work in partnership with specialist women's organisations, such as Agenda, and campaigning organisations such as Women in Prison and the Prison Reform Trust. If you have issues you would like raised with the government, please contact Jess Mullen.
Through these partnerships, we continue to make the case for the distinct needs of women to be recognised and addressed by the criminal justice system and related agencies.
Clinks is committed to supporting women-centred community provision and the wider women’s sector. We know that strong community based women’s services are the best way to make a real difference to the lives of women at risk of entering, or those already in, the criminal justice system. If you would like support on a specific issue, please contact Jess Mullen.
Clinks publishes a quarterly ebulletin providing a roundup of developments, member activities, events and publications.
Pregnancy and maternity in the criminal justice system
Together with Birth Companions, Clinks has launched a new research survey into the needs and experiences of women who are pregnant or have recently given birth who are in contact with the criminal justice system but aren’t in prison. Although there is a wealth of knowledge about the health needs of women in prison, women in the community are often overlooked. Together, we want to advocate for the vital delivery of statutory and voluntary sector services at this important time in the lives of women and their children.
At the end of this project we will develop a report with a series of recommendations for decision-makers to demand better treatment for women in the justice system, some of which will be relevant to the voluntary sector.
Strengthening family ties
In 2016, in partnership with Clinks, Lord Michael Farmer was commissioned to chair an independent review into how supporting men in prison in England and Wales to engage with their families can reduce reoffending and assist in addressing intergenerational crime. In 2018, Lord Farmer reviewed the recommendations of his review through the lens of the needs of women in contact with the criminal justice system. The review looked more widely at how to strengthen family ties for women serving sentences in the community and in custody, as well as under probation supervision after release.
Clinks was a member of the review’s expert panel and led the call for evidence. We heard from approximately 10% of the female prison population along with their families, the voluntary organisations that support them and academics. We are delighted that the voice of these experts has been able to help shape the focus and recommendations of the review and we are grateful to our members for facilitating this engagement. The report was published in June 2019 and made a total of 33 recommendations. You can access it here.
Clinks sits as a member of the Family Strategy Working Group to inform the implementation of the review’s recommendations. Please contact Nicola Drinkwater, Policy Manager at Nicola.email@example.com if you would like more information.
Networking forums: working with women in the criminal justice system
Our quarterly networking forums, hosted in partnership with Agenda, provide support, information and networking opportunities to those working with women in contact with the criminal justice system. They provide updates on policy, member activity and host speakers on relevant topics.
Clinks gathers intelligence at these events to inform our representative work with government and other stakeholders, including the MoJ’s Advisory Board for Female. Lisa Dando, women’s specialist on the Reducing Reoffending Third Sector Advisory Group and Chief Executive at Brighton Women’s Centre, attends the women’s networking forum to gather feedback about key issues raised by the women’s sector to reflect these to national government at RR3 meetings.
If you would like to attend the next women’s networking forum, you can find details of upcoming events here. If you would like to suggest content for a network meeting, please contact Jackie Lowthian.
Read this group’s papers, presentations and notes from previous network meetings.
Women’s Breakout merger
Clinks worked closely with Women’s Breakout, the infrastructure organisation for women’s organisations in criminal justice. After it faced insurmountable financial issues it approached Clinks to take on its services. Following consideration by the Boards of Women’s Breakout and Clinks, alongside consultation with Women’s Breakout members, it was agreed that Women’s Breakout should merge into Clinks. The merger took place on the 1st August 2017. We’re working to understand the priorities and needs of Women’s Breakout’s 59 member organisations so we can take this crucial work forward.
The Clinks Women’s Network is piloting a new coaching and mentoring scheme to provide emerging leaders in the sector with opportunities to develop skills, knowledge and confidence in their field to support strong leadership and a sustainable sector.
The scheme will match new and emerging leaders who want to develop their performance with experienced women leaders working in the field. The mentors will use coaching methods to provide a range of specialist guidance and support on management and leadership in the women’s criminal justice sector, supporting mentees to reach the goals they set for themselves.
If you have experience of senior level management in an organisation that was set up to provide tailored support to women and are interested in developing coaching skills we would love to hear from you.
You will need to commit to attending a one-day training session in coaching skills. Once matched with a mentee, you will agree to provide between four and six coaching sessions over a 6 month period of time from March 2020. You will receive a fee of up to £500 to cover travel and time spent delivering the coaching.
Please download and complete the expression of interest form here
Find further information here or get in touch with Jackie Lowthian Jackie.lowthian@Clinks.org or call 07886 050222.
The deadline for returning completed expression of interest forms is 7th February.
Interested in receiving coaching and mentoring support?
If you are interested in receiving mentoring support between four and six times over a 6 month period from March 2020, please get in touch with Jackie Lowthian Jackie.lowthian@Clinks.org and you will be contacted in due course with details of how to apply to the scheme.