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Almost 10 years ago after the release of a ground-breaking report into women in the United Kingdom’s criminal justice system, Baroness Jean Corston says it’s time for NSW to change how women offenders are treated.

When Baroness Jean Corston released the Corston Report into vulnerable women in the UK criminal justice system in 2007, the United Kingdom had three women’s community justice centres for female offenders. Now there are 51 and Corston want NSW to follow the UK’s lead and move women out of prison into community care.

The Corston Report was commissioned after numerous women died in custody in the UK.

After it was tabled in Parliament, 41 of the 43 recommendations were implemented.

The most major change was the expansion of community justice centres to reduce recidivism and address social, health and welfare issues unique to women.

“These centres work; they change lives,” Corston, 74, said during a visit to Sydney on behalf of philanthropic group the Sydney Community Foundation.

“I have visited the centres and seen women turning their lives around.

The focus of criminal rehabilitation has to be on teaching life skills. We know women’s lives are so very different to men’s. Their responsibilities are so very different. Locking them up causes significant social costs and children are often the hidden victims.”

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