As the article says, 81% of women are jailed for 'non-violent offenses' and the effects of incarceration on them is huge. Luckily there are charities such as the Prison Phoenix Trust doing excellent work with prisoners. Prison should be a last recourse, not a one-size fits all solution.
Prison is a brutal punishment for all but women face disproportionate hardship; more are in prison for less serious offences; they are more likely to have been victims of abuse; mental health problems are more prevalent in female than male prisoners; and, of course, there is the issue of motherhood. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast, Hughes said female offenders are a "special case" and should be treated differently. "There are so many women who ought not to be in prison," he said. "About half ought not to be there at all. I met a woman in her twenties the other day who clearly ought to be sectioned. Her problem is a health problem, not a criminality one. Prisons shouldn't have to cope with that."