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Sub hypothesis. 1.1.a. Women prisoners’ social situation prior to imprisonment is

characterised by multiple disadvantage. following evidence:

This hypothesis is supported by the

The social characteristics of women offenders as reported by the Social Exclusion Unit (2002) are as follows:

  • a fifth of women in prison at any time are likely to have been brought up in state care as compared with 2% of the general population

  • at least a fifth have been living as lone parents before imprisonment (compared to around 9% in the general population)

  • the educational achievement of women in prison is significantly lower than for women in the general population

  • many have very little experience of stable employment

  • they report much higher rates of physical and psychological problems than women in the general population

  • over 50% of sentenced women prisoners are likely to have used drugs (including alcohol) in the year before their imprisonment

  • they are more likely to be victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse than women in the general population

  • one in ten women claim to be homeless when they are admitted to prison

  • The Social Characteristics of women with drug dependency were found by Singleton et al. (1998) to be as follows:

    • -

      57% had experienced violence at home

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      35% had been victims of sexual abuse

    • -

      50% had suffered the death of a close relative or friend

    • -

      11% had suffered the death of a spouse or child

    • -

      11% had had a stillborn baby

Disrupted care during childhood

  • -

    72% had run away from home

  • -

    33% had been taken into care

  • -

    33% had spent time in a institution

Low levels of education

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    54% had left school aged 15 or under

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    49% had been expelled from school

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    16% had attended a special school

Social Isolation

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    61% felt they had severe or moderate lack of social support.

A high prevalence of mental disorder

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    96% had at least one other co-occurring disorder (i.e. personality disorder, psychosis, neurosis, or hazardous drinking.

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    41% had three or four other disorders, 34% had two other disorders and 21% had one other disorder.

Sub hypothesis specific aspects.

1.1b: The primary exclusion of This hypothesis is sustained by the

women prisoners has evidence presented below.



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