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Yet, all the agents were reluctant to imply that women should be sent to prison (either in the first place or for longer) in order to obtain training (or any other treatment) which

should be available to them in the community. These short sentences of three, four six months, do less than six months should she be locked up disproportionate. (A.4)

nothing. in the

If a woman only deserves a sentence of first place? The damage done is so

Sub hypothesis 3.2 Women do not receive enough preparation and support for their smooth return to family and other intimate ties and integration into the community. This hypothesis was neither fully sustained nor fully refuted by the evidence we adduced from literature, theory or the fieldwork. Existing knowledge indicates that many of the women prior to their incarceration did not have a family life or other intimate ties which the prison could prepare for their re-integration to. However, insofar as women did receive some preparation and support in prison, it tended to be almost completely offset by the disruption and continuing process of debilitation of imprisonment itself (see sub hypotheses 4.1 and 4.2 below). Most recent reports on the resettlement/reintegration of released women prisoners in England and Wales are critical of the resettlement provision made for women. Apart from criticisms of (or at least reservations about) the psychology-based offending behaviour programmes, commentators appear to think that existing provision is of good quality but that

  • its benefits are often more than offset by the negative effects of imprisonment itself

  • there is not enough in-prison resettlement provision (Social Exclusion Report 2002; O’Keeffe 2003)

  • there are insufficient gender-specific programmes – i.e. programmes which recognise that the needs of women are different to those of men; primarily in areas of gynaecology, social expectations and responsibilities (e.g. as carers ), social experience e.g. of domestic and sexual abuse, male violence and the matrix of disadvantage and poverty accompanying one or more of these needs.

  • there is insufficient post settlement provision, especially in relation to accommodation advice, legal advice in relation to benefits, child custody advice and detoxification support (O’Keefe 2003)

  • there is insufficient housing available for ex-prisoners, especially for mothers with dependent children

  • in-prison and post-prison services are poorly integrated (see further discussion under hypothesis 4.3 below)

When we were interviewing in Autumn 2003 and Spring 2004 a new national resettlement structure was currently being put in place, but still, at that time, the agents working in the system continued to be very critical of the lack of provision in certain

areas and for certain groups: Foreign national women do not get equal access to courses, and there are no pre-release courses for them at present. (A.8)

Do resettlement programmes achieve their aims? Many of them don’t run, and when they do, there is often a mismatch between the women and the programme. (A .13)

Throughcare/Resettlement is not a priority. Cuts and targets have a knock-on effect. Whatever they say, they don’t allocate the resources. They need to look at what prison has to offer and what women’s needs are. There’s not much matching at the moment. The prison works according to the prison’s needs. (A.4)

There is now someone to give housing advice in every prison – or should be. But the level and quality of housing advice still need attention. (A.21)


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