Campaign Overview

Care Not Custody Action Pack  

What is the WI calling for?

  • Effective diversion schemes around the country. We would like to see a national network of diversion schemes at police stations and courts. 
  • Access to early assessment and intervention. This could take the form of mental health clinical advisers in courts and police stations to ensure problems are spotted and assessed quickly. 
  • Community mental health services available offering safe alternatives to imprisonment. Diversion will only work if there are adequate services around the country to which people can be diverted, wherever possible out of custody. 
  • Full implementation of Baroness Corston's proposals for women in the criminal justice system including investment in local community-based provision based on women's centre models such as the Asha Centre and the Calderdale Women's Centre, which carry out therapeutic work and are close to families and networked into local services. 
  • Help with resettlement and contact with families. Support should begin as soon as people are diverted to prepare for life outside. Alongside mental health treatment, they need to help build up work skills and get jobs, to have a home to go to and to maintain contact with family where they are supportive.

The Care not Custody Coalition

The Care not Custody Coalition, convened in 2011 by the NFWI and PRT, comprises a wide range of allied professional groups and charities. The Coalition represents over two million people across the health, social care and justice sectors and wider civic society. Together our organisations show the breadth of support that there is for the development of effective liaison and diversion arrangements across the country for people with mental health needs and learning disabilities caught up in the criminal justice system.

The organisations and professional bodies in membership have agreed to work together to support the government in keeping its 'care not custody' promise and to hold government to account for effective delivery. The coalition is well placed to monitor the implementation of liaison and diversion arrangements, offering support for positive steps and raising concerns where they arise.

Action for Prisoners' Families

NHS Confederation, Mental Health Network

Advocacy Training Council

National Appropriate Adult Network

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

National Federation of Women's Institutes

Association of Members of Independent Monitoring Boards

Probation Chiefs Association

Bar Council

Police Federation of England and Wales

British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy

Police Foundation

Centre for Mental Health

Prison Governors Association

Children's Commissioner

Prison Officers Association


Prison Reform Trust

Criminal Bar Association

Rethink Mental Illness

Criminal Justice Alliance

Revolving Doors Agency

Howard League for Penal Reform

Royal College of Nursing

KeyRing Living Support Networks

Royal College of Psychiatrists

Law Society

Victim Support

Magistrates' Association

Women in Prison


Women's Breakout