UK Feminists: Let’s Keep Women out of Prison

Lady Justice wears a blindfold to indicate that she cares not about a person’s race, sex or social class. Shockingly, British feminists are arguing in favor of removing that blindfold when it comes to a criminal’s sex. They’re arguing for changes that would offer women a greater chance of community-based rehabilitation rather than prison. It’s an idea that has been floating around in the femisphere for a while, and the flagship British project, which is funded by the government, is called Inspire.

The project, which was started in Brighton on the south coast of Britain, runs a set of centers that organize community rehabilitation facilities for female offenders. The lobbying carried out by this group is in favor of this approach being employed on a wide scale, as they claim it has proven very effective.

“A significant proportion have also experienced serious and sustained violence or sexual violence either as adults or as children.” – Inspire Women’s Project, Executive Summary.

So, what could the argument for prison avoidance for women actually be? This article published in The Independent last year sums up the feminist argument very well. Even the title, “Mothers & Prison: The alternatives”, is wrong-footed from the start as it’s a bit unfair to claim that mothers deserve special status in a society in which men don’t have equal rights of custody.

And it’s all downhill from there. Like a lot of feminism, the arguments of Inspire use a trick of omission when attempting to justify unequal treatment for male and female criminals. The supporters of this policy say that female offenders are typically from disadvantaged and abusive backgrounds. They are probably right, but what they leave out is that this is that this sums up the background of practically every man in prison. A history of abuse and neglect is often characterizes the early life of a repeat criminal offender. In the same way, a huge proportion of men in prison have suffered from or currently suffer from mental illness, a point that Inspire makes about female offenders.

To mull these issues is to touch upon a question that has tasked philosophers and commentators throughout time. What is the purpose of punishment? Is it to reform the individual, or to mete out a punishment that evokes a sense of satisfaction within the wider society? Is its purpose to provide a deterrent to the criminal, and by example, other citizens?

It’s worth noting that most of the case histories that are presented in order to bolster the feminist argument are the product of self reporting on the part of the offender. It’s a well known cliché that every criminal is an expert at manufacturing a believable sob story. Practically every man in prison would, given a chance, argue that he is a victim and that his case deserves sympathy. Women making this argument have the advantage that it’s difficult to walk down a city street without seeing a poster of a woman suffering an unfair plight, the product of a society that is very quick to see women as victims.

“It costs £45,000 to keep a woman in prison for one year – while almost 45 per cent of all women released from custody in 2010 re-offended within 12 months.” – Ministry of Justice website.

It’s hard to see how any of the examples that Inspire and its like-minded supporters offer can, in any way, be used to justify unequal treatment for men and women. Whatever you say about female offenders and the treatment that they deserve is typically true of male offenders.

Were there a universal set of rules to exclude some offenders from normal treatment, what might they be? If the criminal has a hard luck story, should they be able to avoid prison? Or a history of mental illness? What if they had a really good excuse and won’t do it again? If so, prepare to release about 90% of the male prison population back onto the streets. It would certainly save some money, in the short term. That too, pointing out the high cost of keeping women in prison, is used as a justification for special treatment. It also fails the same basic test that all arguments for unequal treatment do because whatever you say about female prisoners is typically true of male prisoners.

Some may debate whether community sentencing as opposed to imprisonment is a “soft option” after all, and much of the rhetoric employs phraseology such as “tough community scheme”. A simple test would be to offer each sentenced criminal a choice between going to prison or doing a community sentence. Bear in mind that by the time a criminal is facing imprisonment, they are usually sufficiently familiar with the justice system to make an informed decision. According to the backers of female-specific schemes, criminals would show no preference for community sentencing over prison.

Even if there there are found to be differences in the effectiveness of community sentences for male and female offenders, it makes no real difference. If it were proved that recidivism amongst male offenders given community sentences was higher, feminists would claim that it was evidence that community sentences were not the correct approach for male offenders. However, if it were found that recidivism amongst female offenders on community sentences was higher, feminists would claim that this proved that female offenders needed greater support. You can’t win on that one.

A basic thought experiment can be used to clarify the matter further. Let us say that it was discovered that in 1970s South Africa, the Government had declared that white people would receive different treatment to black people when they committed a criminal offense. It might have argued that white people were less likely to be involved in crime and that the minority that did commit crimes were typically victims of hardship and deprivation. Further more, measures such as education and community service seemed to be more effective than prison with white criminals. Could you live with that?


A UK Government webpage that details the aims of the scheme

A UK newspaper article that endorses the scheme

About Michael Reed

I am UK based freelance writer, and I specialise in writing about technology, gender politics and geek culture. I have had articles published in magazines and websites such as Micro Mart, Retro Gamer and Linux User and Developer, Linux Journal, OSNews, Men's News Daily, A Voice For Men, Den of Geek and a few others . It's my ambition to have a men's rights column in a national newspaper. See website for full bio.

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  • mikebuchanan1957

    Michael, a terrific article – always good to hear a new Brit contributor to AVfM. One recent case which made my head spin was this:

    • El Bastardo

      It is good to have a chorus of voices saying this; so when we are better able to back a “preacher.” I know you are working on getting us a preacher Mike. God speed!

      Yet, if history is any indication, people like this will never listen. So you are going to have to produce a truly exceptional “preacher” to win the masses.

      I view it like what works best with my sons. When they know that their dad is fiercely fair, and definitive. Yet impartial between the two of them. I love my two year old’s unsuccessful attempts at speech as much as I do my seven year old’s attempts at athletics. I laugh at it, and hug them after. But I properly scold, timeout, or put the foot down as needed when they cross a particular and previously well defined line.

      You will need a strong older gentlemen, with a bank account that makes an investor’s heart sing; and a track record of family and integrity that would give a real preacher a hard on.

      Good luck brother, you need it. Because no sooner do you get him, then you have to win votes. I am coming up on what I hope is the end of my case. If it is, by this time next year I will have money again. I will be keeping tabs on you. I don’t care if you fail, as long as you dare to fail greatly!

      I suspect you are not choosing to be such a beast of burden to be dissuaded. Good luck bro.

      • mikebuchanan1957

        Thanks EB, your point is well taken. I believe the ‘preacher’ will appear one day – ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’ and all that. I’m 55, and I intend to fight the scourge of militant feminism until the day it becomes physically impossible to carry on. Militant feminism is an ever-growing parasite which becomes ever hungrier, and will kill its host (civilised society) if its host doesn’t kill it first. It’s all too clear that the host will have to become even sicker before the day it realises it has no choice but to kill that parasite. But that day WILL come. There’s a historical inevitability about it.

        Onwards and upwards…

        Mike Buchanan

        (and the women who love them)

    • Michael Reed

      Thanks. We Mikes know what we’re talking about!

      The case in the link is infuriating.

  • dejour

    Great article. I have a question though. I’ve used this proposal in the past to argue that feminists are not actually advocating for equality. Rather they are advocating for female privileges.

    I did receive a reply that feminists tend to be against this campaign and that the people behind it are most likely patriarchal people who view women as delicate flowers.

    I know that response is BS.

    That said, I couldn’t easily counter the argument. Is there a site that makes it clear that feminist groups are supportive of this initiative?

    Closest I could find was this:

    “Central to the
    Project’s success has been its women-centred approach which involves women in
    identifying their own needs and objectives and the wide and varied links with
    community based organisations, particularly the Northern Ireland Women’s Centres”

    I think it’s obvious what is meant, but I’m hoping for something completely unambiguous.

    • yinyangbalance

      @dejour, it doesn’t matter about what the majority of Feminists think right now. They have no control over their own movement. Just rewind about 10 years ago, and Feminists where against circumcision. All it took to reverse that was a brief propaganda campaign. Now we can’t talk about male circumcision without a Feminist spewing out false information about it being a cure for AIDS, about how its worse for girls to be circumcised, and how STDs come from men.

      Feminists that you talk to everyday are merely sheep. They follow the herd. If you talk to them individually they will give you conflicting answers based on personal views. All it takes is for a herder to come down and lead them all in the same direction, and suddenly all those personal views go right out the window. Not one of them will go against the grain. If they do, they cease to be feminist.

      The no female in prison movement is on the horizon. This is just about ready to hit mainstream. Especially with all the talk about prison overcrowding, they never talk about the fact that overcrowding is exclusively regarding men. So releasing women will be a ‘solution’ to prison overcrowding. You bet, this will break here in California. Gov Brown has already been ordered to reduce the prison population by something like 125% by the federal supreme court, because its ridiculously out of control. But they dont say that its because they are arresting men left and right for any reason.

      • feeriker

        Especially with all the talk about prison overcrowding, they never talk about the fact that overcrowding is exclusively regarding men. So releasing women will be a ‘solution’ to prison overcrowding. You bet, this will break here in California. Gov Brown has already been ordered to reduce the prison population by something like 125% by the federal supreme court, because its ridiculously out of control. But they dont say that its because they are arresting men left and right for any reason.

        There’s a very simple, non-gender-centric solution to this problem, assuming that TPTB are really interested in a solution: release ALL prison inmates, of either sex, who are incarcerated for non-violent (non-)crimes. Drug “crimes” would be at the top of the of the “get out of jail free NOW” list. But of course prison “overcrowding” really isn’t the issue with TPTB (the PIC absolutely needs as much human fodder as possible to sustain itself). Their problem is not being able to profit effectively from the surplus of bodies currently inside the cages.

        Where the female prisoner population is concerned, the feministas are alarmed that the “gender gap” is starting to close. For the first time in history, women are slowly starting to catch up with men in terms of the rate of violent crimes they commit. For the feministas to admit to this kind of “equality” would give the movement another black eye that it can ill afford.

      • ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ

        Feminists are AGAINST circumcision. In the US where circumcision mostly still occurs, it is lauded by doctors… do not confuse doctors and feminists. Why aren’t you asking why the only people who hate uncut peens are the bullies in locker rooms? Why can’t a boy (perhaps born in another country, or parents too poor to afford it) lower his pants without cut boys mocking him, bullying him, teasing him and calling him Fa66ot simply because he retains his foreskin? Girls dig uncut guys. Bullies in locker rooms don’t.

        • driversuz

          “the only people who hate uncut peens are the bullies in locker rooms?”

          You’re kidding, right?

          • ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ

            Of course I’m not kidding. Want to share how many uncut guys you’ve enjoyed versus how many I have? I was an “intactivist” before there even was such a word. I only like to date European guys because the chance of “clean, surgically cut” penises are much lower. Yes, some European guys are still cut for medical or comfort purposes and I would hate to not see a foreskin :(
            But anyway, where do I meet my European guys? In America. They tell the tales of what it’s like in locker rooms and gyms and nude beaches with American guys indeed calling them all sorts of ignorant hateful things. Guys are disturbingly brutish and anti-choice when it comes to circumcision. Guys online I get into arguments with (mostly after I meet someone online I might go out with, but he tells me he’s circumcised and I tell him sorry, I prefer uncut) call me sicko, sicko names because I like foreskin. These cut guys tell me I’m going to die of AIDS or dysentery (!) because I happen to like 100% of a guy, rather than 99%. Telling a female friend my boyfriend is uncut is like telling her he has green eyes, i.e., “big deal, so what”.
            I ask girl friends if they have a preference, most do not have a preference, some want foreskin as nature intended, some have only had circumcised but are curious. So yes, the only times I hear about someone hating and teasing and shaming foreskins, it’s men in locker rooms or gyms. My friendzoned guy friends (lol) tell me women are gross for liking uncut guys, because you know, they happen to be cut. It was feminists who got San Francisco to stop mandatory male mutilation at birth, you know. They were at it for years and finally accomplished it. Who got their balls in a twist? MEN who want their baby boys to be like good ol’ dad, that’s who. Never mind that they can still technically get their sons circumcised anyway, it just won’t be automatic.

          • driversuz

            You don’t read many women’s sites on the internet, do you? They may not bully uncut men face to face, but they express their disgust quite vociferously from the relatively safe anonymity of their keyboards.

    • Melchiah

      @dejour but not defacto, I’m not familiar enough with UK feminist groups to provide the citations your seeking, but it’s common for feminist rhetoric to be misaligned with the actual policy objectives. For example, feminist rhetoric might claim that American custody law is misogynistic for it’s maternal biases, especially when faced with MHRAs, but the simple fact of the matter is that NoW does everything it can to harm the rights of Fathers and to preserve those biases that work against fathers. Given that we’re dealing with a particular project here, you might try looking at the past actions of women’s groups when it comes to the prison issue. Even if they haven’t supported this particular project, they might have pushed for similar initiatives in the past, and that would be quite telling.

  • MGTOW-man

    Just more proof of how oblivious, (if not that, then devious, scheming, conniving, and manipulative),those women can be. Heck, a damned cow in the field can see how wrong as mud it is for women- only to be the tagets of special ways to be rehabilitated. Just what part of equality do feminists not understand? All of it?

  • universe

    Have we yet gathered enough evidence on dominant feminism wanting to keep men locked in rigid sex roles as wayward beasts worthy of mistreatment thereby leading some to prison?

    I can think of locales around certain areas on the globe able to lawfully house feminist liars and propagandists within stark barren holding cells for misleading the public so much – every major city and outlying areas in the western world

  • Niku

    Damn, this ties in with the other article just uploaded recently.

    • tallwheel

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. This, combined with Robert St. Estephe’s article creates a pretty clear picture of the persistent double standard.

  • Kimski

    “In the same way, a huge proportion of men in prison have suffered from or currently suffer from mental illness, a point that Inspire makes about female offenders.”

    Build bigger sanitariums for the female crazies and let the professionals decide when they’re sane enough to be let loose on society. A substantial amount would never see the light of day again, is my best guess. You’re supposed to treat mentally sick people, not set them free to repeat their offenses.

  • Dominic Blais

    another fine example of how feminism hates men and believes only men should suffer and can do anything wrong if a woman did something wrong it must be a mans fault

    • donzaloog

      I wanted to thumbs up this comment, but I can’t thumbs up comments anymore. Can someone prove me with the proper sign in link please?

    • ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ

      As hard as this very biased author tried, there is not so much as a hint of man-hating in these Brits’ goals. Granted, it is only trying to help save their taxpayers’ hard-earned money by just helping the lesser-criminals (as opposed to murderers and terrorists, etc.), and this would naturally extend to male offenders as well. Their goal is noble — trying to close down entire prisons! Wow. Once they extend the programs to minor-offense men, it will sadly not close any prisons, but it will still save the taxpayers plenty.
      I wish America’s feminists would bring this here.

      • driversuz

        “and this would naturally extend to male offenders as well.

        Suuure it would. All feminist/gynocentric policies eventually do, right? VAWA? DV shelters?

        • ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ

          I’m not going to nibble on the topic derailment crumbs, thanks.

          has rules against posting off-topic, and I don’t go there. But you
          would be better off not painting good public policy as “””gynocentric”””
          when it benefits ALL people. Men, women, children, and the economy would benefit from keeping minor criminals out of prison.

  • yinyangbalance

    Ugh. I dreaded this day. I knew it was coming.

  • Truyardy

    Can you imagine if there were no female prisons? Women would have the freedom to make false allegations against men and not worry about the repercussions. Women could commit acts of murder against their husbands and children and walk away scot free. Oh humm, wait a minute……

    • Kimski

      My thoughts exactly.
      Now, where have I seen this repeat itself ad lib?

      Oh yeah, right…!


  • externalangst

    Aren’t hate crimes a jail-able offence. The feminists that promotes discrimination and even gendercide against men & boys don’t want women to go to jail.

    • feeriker

      Aren’t hate crimes a jail-able offence.

      Only for white males.

      • ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ

        Oh, holy ludicrous shit.

  • markis1

    same old story.feminism was never about equal rights

  • Chester “Snapdragon” McFisticuffs

    Equal rights my snapdragon ass.

  • Rodrigo_Girao

    Looking at the article’s first example — a woman who stole a lasagna to avoid an embarassing moment for her son — I’d support giving her an alternative penalty, as it was a non-violent crime of very little financial impact. Her gender makes no difference to this. But consider: this was not a true situation of severe need, the family was not on the verge of starvation. She should not have done it.

  • Mohammed Ahmed M Muniser-saleh

    Equality means equal, in all regards, pure and simple. To be equal, you must take the good with the bad. where are these feminist when men get hurt on a daily basis, no rights to there kid, they cant even protect themselfs from women they have to take a beating, because domestic violence is a one way street, you never see a feminist anywhere when women get 1/3 of the time in jail that men get for the same crime, and thats even if they go to jail, when ever a women makes a racist or sexes joke like on the view when they were laughing at the guy who has his penis cut off,i didn’t see the upset hell i never see the upset,i could go on and on but i wont to say all feminist what equality is bull shit.

  • Miss Misanthropist

    Sentencing for women is already biased as all get out, and women should be well aware of this. As a woman I’m well aware of this, and yet even with that, feminists still think it’s not good enough. For example if I shot a guy in cold blood then claimed I truly, honestly, feared for my life and stuck with that story I got at 90% chance of walking away from that, especially if I prey on feminist sympathy to back me. Pretty much women already get away with murder they just want to make it official.