A WOMAN from Cannington has visited a prison with a team from a voluntary organisation as part of a campaign to reduce women’s custodial sentences.

Liz Corrigan talked to inmates at Eastwood Park in Wotton-under-Edge to learn more about life behind bars.

She was joined by nine others from Soroptomist International, a service set up to improve the lives of women and girls in communities worldwide.

The group is working with the Prison Reform Trust to end the ‘unnecessary imprisonment of women in the UK’.

Mrs Corrigan, who is the president of the club, said: “Rather than custody, many of these women could be safely managed in the community as they do not pose a significant risk of harm to the public. “This would minimise the cost to the society, but to do this we require more Women’s Centres.”

Mrs Corrigan, who grew up in Cannington and now lives in Bristol, believes women’s centres are better alternatives to prison.

In the UK, nearly 14,000 women are sent to prison and more than 80% are convicted for non-violent offences.

It is estimated over 17,000 children were separated from their mothers in 2010 by imprisonment. Evidence suggests it is harmful to the children and costs the state more than £17 million over a decade.

For more information www.soroptimist-ukpac.org/about/show/526/