It is self-evident that critique lies at the heart of Critical Social Work. Even so, more attention should be given to clarifying the meaning of this form of evaluation, particularly when it is applied in the social sciences and social professions. More precisely, it is necessary to explain the meta-theoretical conceptualisation of critique and, crucially, note its different expressions. Through gaining such clarity, the contention is that Critical Social Work sharpens its appreciation of social injustice and how to tackle it. This article describes and augments one meta-theoretical conception of critique involving a typology delineating interconnected forms of evaluation. The indelible bond between this paradigmatic outline of critique, critical theory and Critical Social Work is subsequently considered, highlighting some possibilities for social transformation. Adopting these precepts, by way of conclusion, leads to a critical cosmopolitan orientation within Critical Social Work, making it relevant to the pressing challenges of today’s world.
This chapter provides insight into the current context and landscape surrounding pregnancy, new motherhood and criminal justice. It highlights the dangers and consequences of incarcerated pregnancy and forced separation from newborn babies as an imprisoned mother.
This chapter explores incarcerated and criminalised motherhood over the last century. This chapter will provide an overview of historical developments in relation to pregnancy and prison over the last century or so. It will reveal the extent to which pregnancy and motherhood in criminalised women has been influenced by patriarchy, inequality and discrimination. It will also make links between past attitudes and responses to women in the criminal justice system, and contemporary views and responses. In doing so it will explore the legacy of motherhood ideology and its relationship to patriarchy, how this intersects with judgement and attitudes towards criminalised mothers, and, importantly, how this additional layer of judgement affects mothers themselves.
This chapter brings the previous chapters into context and discusses the women in our research and their pre-prison experiences with reference to current policy, guidelines and practice in relation to pregnancy and criminalised women. The chapter, reflecting on the experiences of mothers in our research, will outline the context and processes mothers go through in terms of their arrest, sentencing and imprisonment, and will contrast the ideals of good practice and effective policy with the reality of what mothers in our studies described.
This chapter will reflect on the book chapters to provide a summary alongside the authors’ concluding thoughts and recommendations going forwards. The final word will be given over to Louise Powell who wishes to end this book with her own comment and wishes for the future.
This chapter will draw on the authors’ research to discuss the experiences of pregnant mothers in custody. It will discuss the women’s experiences of access to antenatal support, food, experiences of external appointments and birth as imprisoned mothers. It will detail in the mothers’ voices what it feels like to be pregnant in prison, and/or to live in a mother and baby unit, highlighting the fear and the shame that surrounds pregnant and new mothers in prison. The chapter will reveal and discuss the significance of the reactions of officers and the mothers’ relationships with each other, highlighting the importance and impact of both, and also of bad practice in prisons. The chapter will take a critical stance throughout but will centre the voices of the mothers and their experiences.
This chapter, again drawing on the authors’ research and centring the voices and experiences of mothers, will discuss the lived experiences of mothers post-release and will demonstrate the ongoing trauma from their experiences. It will reveal the enduring harm caused to mothers, and sometimes their children, of separation, birth trauma, prison birth and loss. It will examine the mothers’ own altered perceptions of themselves as mothers and the ‘shame’ they feel at having given birth or spent time pregnant in prison.
This chapter is co-authored by Samantha Harkness, Michelle Wright and Kirsty Kitchen; three members of the charity Birth Companions, which has specialised in supporting and advocating for pregnant women and new mothers in contact with the criminal justice system for more than 25 years. Samantha and Michelle are both members of the Birth Companions Lived Experience Team; a group of over 40 women who are committed to using their own experiences of the criminal justice, social services and maternity systems to drive improvements in the care of other pregnant women and mothers. Kirsty is head of policy and communications at the charity, working closely with the Lived Experience Team to influence policy and practice across these systems. The chapter offers a view of the needs and experiences of pregnant women and mothers of infants in prison from two women who have lived it, and the charity that supported them during that time and beyond, namely Birth Companions.
Incorporating the authentic voices and real-life experiences of women, this ground-breaking book focuses on pregnancy and new motherhood in UK prisons. The book delves critically and poignantly into the criminal justice system’s response to pregnant and new mothers, shedding light on the tragedies of stillborn babies and the deaths of traumatised mothers in prison.
Based on lived realities, it passionately argues the case for enhancing the experiences of pregnant and new mothers involved with the criminal justice system. Aiming to catalyse policy and practice, the book is key reading for criminology and midwifery students and researchers as well as policy makers and practitioners.
This article reports on an exploratory study in the UK on the experiences of social work practitioners and students whose minoritised identities may not be obvious to those they interact with in work and university settings. Study is relevant because people increasingly identify in ways that fall outside singular demographic categories and because there is a dearth of research on their experiences to date. Analysis of the qualitative survey data identifies three overarching themes: experiences of misrecognition and prejudice; fears of being out; and ease with ‘passing’ (successfully presenting oneself in a socially favoured identity rather than an ‘authentic’ one) and ‘code-switching’ (altering language, behaviour or appearance so that it conforms to hegemonic societal and cultural norms). While a small-scale study, experiences of the surveyed practitioners and students provide important illustrations of their ongoing fears about revealing their authentic identities, despite the broader professional commitment to anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory practice.