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Research indicates that there has been a significant increase of mental health problems in female populations in prison, which is disproportionate to their male counterparts and the wider general public. Women make up over 5% of the overall prison population. This number has doubled between 1995 and 2010, leading to a rise from 1,979 to 4,236. 84% of first time offenders are convicted for minor and non-violent offences.

Recent data suggest that women in police custody are five times more likely to experience mental health problems than those who are not. Of all deliberate self harm incidents in the overall prison population, women account for over 21% of them, despite making up only 5% of the prison population. The rate of attempted suicide in female prison populations is seven times higher than the general population, with 46% of women in prison stating they have attempted suicide in their lifetime.

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