UK MP takes a stand for male prisoners

Men face sex discrimination in UK justice system says MP

Male offenders in the UK are being discriminated against on the grounds of their gender according to the backbench MP Phil Davies.

Speaking in a debate of female offenders in parliament this week Mr Davies said:

“There appears to be sex discrimination in the sentencing of offenders, but the people being discriminated against are men not women. Women cannot have it both ways. They cannot expect to be treated equally in everything in society except when it comes to being sentenced by the courts for the crimes that they commit.

“People may want to argue that it is reasonable for women to be given lighter sentences than men, and that it is right that fewer women are sent to prison than men. That is an argument for another day, but at least when we have these debates about sentencing for men and women let us stick to the facts as they are and not what we would like them to be.”

The Member of Parliament for Shipley in Yorkshire went on to say:

“Men are treated more harshly by the courts than women. For every single category of offence, for all ages and in all types of court, men are more likely to be sent to prison than women. There is not one blip anywhere. For every single offence, for every age, in every type of court, women are less likely to be sent to prison than men.

“The argument goes that this is all about women; it is not all about women. Let us not focus just on the very small proportion of women who are in prison. Let us also think about all the men, too. The point of this debate is to make people aware that where there are issues they apply equally to men, and that some of the issues are not even issues at all because the facts do not back them up.”

Mr Shipley is rated by the Conservative Home Blog as one of his party’s most rebellious MPs, has been described by political commentator Peter Hain as “a genuine conservative” and is the parliamentary spokesman for the Campaign Against Political Correctness.

MP Phil Davies

The Men’s Network is concerned with helping every man and woman reach their full potential – including offenders – and we have previously highlighted the issues facing the male prison population on this blog (See our short statistical post asking why are so many men imprisoned and our news item about mentally ill men stuck in ‘Victorian lunatic asylums‘.

What Mr Davies’ speech highlights is our collective tendency to view the world through the filter – women HAVE problems and men ARE problems – and he provides some startling research and analysis from the House of Commons Library to challenged the commonly held belief that women offenders are treated unfairly compared to male offenders.

It is not clear, however, whether Mr Davies is genuinely interested in tackling the inequalities experienced by men in the prison system or more interested in winning an argument against those campaigning for a more lenient treatment of women offenders.

The thrust of his passionate speech in parliament – 5 myths about female sentencing – seems to be making the case that ‘women are problems too’ more than it is making the case that men who offend have problems, too.

And when you consider problems male prisoners are dealing with it seems evident that time spent supporting boys in care, fatherless boys, boys excluded from schools, boys with mental health disorders and boys with learning difficulties has the potential to deliver huge benefits in reducing the male prison population in the long run.

To see the key points and statistics highlighted by Mr Davies in our post outlining his Five Myths About The Sentencing Of Female Offenders.

Thanks to James Williams of Men’s Matters for bringing this speech to our attention. You can meet James at The Men’s Rights Networking Event and Discussion on the theme ‘How Do We Put Men’s Issues On The Political Agenda?’ on Thursday, November 1 – click here to find out more now.

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