Baroness Corston becomes Honorary Patron of social justice charity
Independent social justice charity Commonweal Housing has announced the former chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the Rt Hon. Baroness Corston as an Honorary Patron, reflecting on her landmark work on the needs of vulnerable women in the criminal justice system.
The Honorary Patron position was created to celebrate individuals who have championed social causes aligned to Commonweal’s objectives and who have supported the organisation. The charity, which provides housing-based solutions to social injustices, has long identified the criminal justice system as a policy area that has exacerbated housing injustices.
Baroness Corston, the former Member of Parliament for Bristol East, joins Commonweal Housing’s founder and original chair Sir John A. Mactaggart, Bt., as an Honorary Patron. It adds further policy experience to the charity, which includes former Minister Fiona Mactaggart as a Trustee.
A review authored by Baroness Corston of vulnerable women within the UK’s criminal justice system, was widely recognised as robust and visionary gained cross-party support. Following the publication of the 2007 Corston Report, routine strip-searching of women in prison was ended. The report remains a blueprint for a drastically improved criminal justice system that would radically reduce the number of incarcerated women through community support measures.
The position was also offered with regards to her support in the development of Commonweal’s flagship Re-Unite project, the first to pass through the charity’s entire project cycle of testing an approach, refining it, and then replicating it. The project supported women leaving prison – who are at increased risk of homelessness and re-offending – to regain custody of their children and enhance their stability through specialist accommodation and support.
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Jean Corston, said, “The severe lack of appropriate housing and support for vulnerable women exiting the criminal justice system has made the work of Commonweal Housing and the learnings from Re-Unite ever-more valuable. I am proud to be offered this honorary role and look forward to supporting the charity as it grows and changes the lives of vulnerable people.”
Jack Mactaggart, Chair of Trustees at Commonweal Housing, said: “The appointment of Baroness Corston reflects Commonweal Housing’s reputation as an informed and trusted charity and will help us continue to influence the social justice sector as we look forward to new challenges under the support of our Honorary Patrons.”