Resourcing for incarcerated women and girls ‘desperately underfunded’


Alliance magazine


Even donors that identify as women’s rights or feminist funders aren’t resourcing incarcerated women and girls.

That is one of the bleak findings of Forgotten by Funders, a report from the movement-building platform Women Beyond Walls that looks at the challenges of funding programmes to support incarcerated women and girls.

The report, which was produced without philanthropic funding, surveyed 34 organisations across 24 countries on five continents.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • Addressing women’s incarceration is not a priority for most donors
  • Over two-thirds of organisations do not receive funding from feminist and women’s rights funders
  • The majority of organisations lack access to flexible, core funding 
  • Most of the organisations surveyed are facing precarious funding situations 
  • Organisations are facing challenges with the funding process and are not able to fund key staff positions 
  • Organisations receive insufficient funding to fully implement all their strategies, particularly their work with women and girls post-incarceration 
  • Organisations are also in need of non-financial support for sustainability

‘Incarceration has a devastating impact on women and their families’, stated the report’s introduction, citing that the rate of self-harm in women’s prisons is higher than in male prisons. It also notes that the majority of women in prison are mothers, and there are at least 19,000 children living in prison with a parent, most often with their mothers.

‘Despite these stark statistics, as this exploratory report highlights, work with and for incarcerated/formerly incarcerated women and girls is flourishing but desperately underfunded,’ the report said.

Women Beyond Walls hopes its exploratory report will start a wider discussion between donors, organisations and women with lived experience of the justice system.

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