chapter  12
24 Pages

Women’s Prison’s After Woolf

ByElaine Player

The Woolf Report does not inquire specifically into the women’s prison system and explicitly excludes ‘problems which solely relate to women prisoners’ (Woolf 1991, para. 2.18). Its focus of concern is upon issues which potentially contribute to ‘fomenting or avoiding disturbances in prisons’ and, since none of the riots in April 1990 occurred in female establishments, the specific inclusion of women prisoners was deemed to be beyond the scope of the Inquiry. Curiously, this decision was taken in spite of the fact that a disturbance by women prisoners at Risley Remand Centre had occurred only several months earlier. Whether the causes of this disturbance concerned problems ‘solely’ relating to women is unclear; what is clear, however, is that it would be inaccurate to presume that women prisoners do not riot (see Sim 1990). Perhaps the point is that they do not riot badly enough, or publicly enough, to vitalise official concern.