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  • Security and decency: (especially with reference to women’s clothing and

levels of security required for women)

  • Resettlement :

The Social Exclusion Report on Reducing Re-offending by Ex-prisoners and other research over the last couple of years has shown that the key resettlement factors for women differ from men in terms of order of priority and are:

    • 1.


    • 2.

      Family ties

    • 3.


    • 4.

      Education, training and employment (Prison Service Women’s Team 2004: 14)

  • Regimes:

The needs of women in prison (health, mental health, drug misuse, self-harm, as carers, resettlement, abuse) are well documented, but a greater understanding is needed of the nature of the relationship of these needs to the risk of re-offending in order to inform the development of regimes, programmes and resettlement provision. Further knowledge of the impact of current provision, and new developments on re-offending is also needed. Therefore, the Women's Team will work to address this and ensure that policies, practice and regime developments for women in prison are underpinned by evidence based research on the distinctive needs and pathways to offending for women. (Prison Service Women’s Team 2004: 16) So these phenomenological factors of primary exclusion have certainly been recognised and addressed. Whether or not their causes have been correctly identified and, furthermore, whether of not the causal factors, once recognised, have been effectively addressed, will be discussed under Hypotheses 2, 3, and 4. However, it is doubtful whether the gendered disjunction between legal discourses about culpability, rationality, responsibility, intent and women’s lived experiences (see Worrall 1981; Allen 1987) has still fully been officially recognised. Certainly it has not been adequately addressed. The priority given to psychological reprogramming in the women’s prisons in recent years suggests that however much the government has recognised the different characteristics and needs of female offenders, it is still ideologically committed to

defining women’s needs as having only an illusory relationship to their crimes, following (now notorious) extract from the Government’s Strategy for Women

as the Offenders

(Home Office 2000) indicates: The characteristics of women prisoners suggest that experiences such as poverty, abuse and drug addiction lead some women to believe that their options are limited. Many offending behaviour programmes are designed to help offenders see there are always positive choices open to them that do not involve crime. At the same time, across Government, we are tackling the aspects of social exclusion that make some women believe their options are limited. (Home Office 2000:7 emphases added) And, as was emphasized in a recent report, this failure to recognise and take seriously


tangled relationship between the sexual subsequent crimes can have deleterious

and physical abuse of women and their effects on their careers in the courts and


Lawyers who work with female prisoners have highlighted the particularly difficult situation faced by women with histories of abuse. If they disclose the abuse they may find that, when seeking a move to more open conditions or release, reports for the Parole Board say that this suggests they are not fully taking responsibility for the offences. (Fawcett Society 2004: 48)


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