Accounts of female offenders’ journeys into the criminal justice system are often silenced or marginalized.
Featuring a Foreword from Pat Carlen and inspired by her seminal book ‘Criminal Women’, this collection uses participatory, inclusive and narrative methodologies to highlight the lived experiences of women involved with the criminal justice system. It presents studies focused on drug use and supply, sex work, sexual exploitation and experiences of imprisonment.
Bringing together cutting-edge feminist research, this book exposes the intersecting oppressions and social control often central to women’s experiences of the justice system and offers invaluable insights for developing penal policies that account for the needs of women.
-harm ( Marzano et al, 2011 ). This is likely to be influenced by the multiple sources of trauma that the large majority of women who took part in the study had experienced in their lives. Reflections on Criminal Women (1985) and imprisoned women who self-harm The experiences of imprisoned women today are not dissimilar from those who were in custody when Pat Carlen published Criminal Women ( 1985 ). Reflecting on 1985, women in prison were more likely to be imprisoned for non-violent crimes and to be given shorter sentences. Many had already suffered poverty and
Whilst the Corston report was focused upon the imprisonment of vulnerable women in England and Wales, the experiences of imprisoned women in Scotland have similarly been a cause for concern for policy makers, practitioners and academics over a period of more than 15 years, prompted initially by a series of suicides in the mid-1990s in Scotland’s only dedicated female prison. Despite the publication of a number of successive reports highlighting the need to limit the use of female imprisonment and make increased use of alternative, gender-appropriate community based services, the rate of female imprisonment has continued to rise, with more women being sent to prison for increasing periods of time. This chapter will provide an historical analysis of developments in policy, practice and research in relation to criminalized women in Scotland, starting with the publication of ‘A Safer way’ in 1998 and concluding with a reflection on the likely impact of the Commission on Women Offenders that was established by the Scottish Government and reported in 2012.
The origins of this book lie in collaborative discussions with a group of feminist criminologists, sociologists and psychologists: the Criminal Women Voice, Justice and Recognition Network (CWVJR) who came together to develop research and scholarship which aims to centre women’s voices and lived experiences. This book draws on each co-author’s body of research in their field of expertise and on a range of research projects, practice and activities. As such the aim of this book is to bring together a body of feminist research on ‘criminal women’ that critically
No one should underestimate the impact of Criminal Women , published in 1985, not least because it emerged at a time when, although there was some awakening of interest in the misfortunates of women in conflict with the law and enmeshed in the criminal justice system (CJS), there was by no means proper recognition of the need for gender-sensitive or gender-responsive policies and practices. The book was powerful; the women’s stories of their experiences of pathways into crime and experiences of the CJS and allied agencies harrowing. In some ways, the
society’ (Mills, 2000). In Criminal Women (1985: 162), the prison regime is described as being based around the will to ‘discipline, infantalize, feminize, medicalize and domesticate’ and in the final part of the chapter we reflect on the extent to which this relates to women who sell sex and their experiences of the CJS. In what follows, we outline what we mean by a criminological imagination and we present women’s stories of selling or swapping sex as told to us and/or to their peers. These stories give a rich understanding of women’s experiences of selling sex
et al’s (1985) seminal text which used the individual narratives of four women to explore and highlight the failures of the CJS. In the original Criminal Women , motherhood was only lightly visited, and mainly through Christina’s narrative. Christina spoke about the tensions and struggles between ‘criminality and motherhood’, recalling that during her last sentence she could hear her son crying out to her, ‘mummy, mummy’. Christina described being ‘demented with grief’ at their separation. When officers would not let Christina telephone him, she started
women’s voices in prison is surprisingly difficult. The few examples that we have are written from the American context. One key UK text that we consistently work with on our Inside-Out programme is Pat Carlen’s co-authored seminal book Criminal Women . Despite being published in 1985, we find that it powerfully resonates with the people we work with who are incarcerated in English women’s prisons today. Criminal Women provided the original inspiration for this book and for our journey in writing with women in prison. This chapter and the next are our contribution
) ‘“Seeking peace of mind” – understanding desistance as a journey into recovery and out of chaos’, PhD thesis, Cork: University College Cork. Carlen , P. ( 1988) Women, Crime and Poverty , Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Carlen , P. , Christina , D. , Hicks , J. , O’Dwyer , J. and Tchaikovsky , C. ( 1985 ) Criminal Women , Cambridge: Polity Press. Case , P. and Fasenfest , D. ( 2004) ‘Expectations for opportunities following prison education: a discussion of race and gender’, Journal of Correctional Education , 55(1): 24–39. Caspi, A
This chapter focuses on the stories of sixteen women who at the time of their interview were actively engaged in drug recovery in two UK women’s prisons. It will explore their journeys into drug use and crime, their experience of addiction and its associated problems and losses. The women’s priorities for their recovery and their plans for the future will also be discussed. The chapter begins with an overview of research on women involved in drugs and crime before moving on to focus on the women’s own narrative accounts.
The reasons women start using drugs are complex and often centre on coping with the physical and emotional pain caused by abuse or other childhood and adult trauma (Bartlett, 2007; NTA, 2010). Numerous studies report high rates of experiences of abuse among women involved in drugs and crime and directly link these experiences with subsequent substance use and criminal activity (Green et al, 2005; Golder et al, 2014; Kelly et al, 2014). For example, Golder et al (2014) found in their sample of 406 women on probation or parole: 70 per cent reported experiences of physical or sexual childhood abuse; 90 per cent adult interpersonal violence; and 72 per cent non-interpersonal adult violence.
Messina et al (2007) found higher rates of childhood adverse events (CAE) among women in their comparative sample of male and female prisoners – specifically in terms of emotional and physical neglect (40 per cent vs 20 per cent); physical abuse (29 per cent vs 20 per cent); and sexual abuse (39 per cent vs 9 per cent) (see also Grella et al, 2013).