Current consultations

Expectations for women in prison

HMI Prisons is currently consulting on our Expectations: Criteria for assessing the treatment of and conditions for women in prison. The Expectations have been developed independently by HMI Prisons and set out the criteria by which we inspect outcomes for women in custody.

This is the second version of our Expectations for women in prison, which we have revised so that we can continue to fulfil our responsibility to deliver independent and objective assessments of outcomes for prisoners. The revision follows a literature review, focus groups and extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders, including women in custody. The Expectations also incorporate learning from our inspections of women’s prisons and other best practice. They are underpinned by human rights treaties and standards.

After much deliberation and consultation, we have chosen to retain the four healthy prison tests of safety, respect, purposeful activity and rehabilitation and release planning. Rehabilitation and release planning has replaced resettlement, as it more accurately describes the content of the test. We have thought carefully about the content of each test and made changes to reflect the differing risk and needs of women in prison and to promote the issues that are most relevant to them. For example, the role of safe and healthy relationships now underpins the safety test; relationships with children, families and other people who are significant to women is now central to the respect test and features more prominently in other sections, such as early days in custody. We have integrated the importance of well-being, fostering a community and supporting women to deal with their needs throughout the four tests, rather than limiting these considerations to one test. We hope that these changes will lead to improved outcomes for those held in women’s prisons.

The final version of the Expectations produced following this consultation will include short explanations of the human rights treaties and standards relevant to each Expectations area.


Thank you to everyone who submitted evidence. We plan to publish the revised Expectations later in 2021.

Draft Expectations for women’s prisons (Word file) (384 kB)

Consultation form for women’s Expectations (Word file) (26 kB)