‘The View’ – a magazine for women in the criminal justice system

By Kate Wilmot

‘Let there be no doubt. Education should be at the heart of the prison system…If education is the engine of social mobility, it is also the engine of prison rehabilitation.’ – Dame Sally Coates, Unlocking Potential: A Review of Education in Prison

Movement
There’s a stampede of animals when movement flows
Ferocious tigers and flamboyant flamingos
Some animals go 2 X 2
Some go it alone
Walking up and off the landing
Is like walking trough a jungle
When movement flows
Don’t be late
Try not to get trampled on
And stay on the straight road
Because anything can happen when movement flows

- By Marshmellow, a prisoner at HMP Downview

The View Magazine is a campaigning platform and social enterprise, which is by and for women in the criminal justice system. We give a voice to women who may be silenced by imprisonment and ensuing social death.

Writing and creativity are not only cathartic, but are recognized as a way out of offending behaviour. According to an assessment of the English and Maths skills levels of prisoners in England, 86% have below L2 literacy (Brian Creese, November 2016) . It is therefore vital that writing opportunities are available in prisons to tackle this major deficit.

It is also the case that a high proportion of women from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds who have experienced domestic abuse in the criminal justice system and been unfairly ignored, as touched upon in the report We are Invisible . Better practice in the courts, police, caseworkers and legal practitioners is very much needed, adding to the growing body of evidence that prison is rarely the answer for women. There are better community-based solutions that need to be properly funded.

Founded in 2019, The View publishes content from incarcerated women and those on license in the community, highlighting the injustices they are facing, with particular emphasis on those from minority ethnic backgrounds and women who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse. We are examining how women who have survived abuse and trauma are being let down by the very services meant to protect them, and how they end up being criminalised.

Our summer issue includes guest writers such as Zoe Buckman, Ruby Tandoh and Bee Wilson. Zoe Buckman is a former model who is now an artist and activist who explores themes of feminism, mortality and equality when talking about domestic violence through the concept of “ride or die”.

Content by and for women prisoners is uncensored, shining a light on the conditions in women’s prisons and the daily injustices that they face.  All content submitted by prisoners is paid for and is available for the prisoner to spend upon release for resettlement purposes. Any women in prison in England can also get a copy of the magazine, and at no charge. The magazine is available at 93 outlets in England and by subscription at


To find out more about The View, visit https://theviewmag.org.uk/

To contribute to their active crowdfunding, visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-justice-refomers