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Women prisoners are often released miles away from their home, and they haven’t been prepared at all. Geographical placement doesn’t occur and often the information that is relevant to prisoners in relation to the area they’re going to just isn’t available to the person who is supposed to be helping them resettle. (A.25)

You simply can’t resettle them if you don’t solve the drug problem. If you don’t solve that, everything else falls down. If you don’t solve it, then you can’t get a job, a stable background for a child or a proper relationship without a stable home. What actually happens? We put them back into the same old treadmill. (A.1)

Hypothesis 4 Several barriers to the social integration/ reintegration of women ex-prisoners remain This hypothesis was sustained. As the professionals talked about specific problems in relation to the resettlement of women prisoners after prison, many of them referred to increased levels of social punitiveness in recent years, often indicating that, whatever the official rhetoric about the ‘reintegration’ of prisoners, neither government nor public are as unambivalent about ‘reintegrating’ ex-prisoners as official rhetoric might suggest. It is within that context

that the following discussion is framed. The Prime Minister thinks that you should build more prisons rather than send fewer people to prison. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Steering Committee is composed of very high level officials, so they have the power to act; but, whatever they decide, there are no proper links with sentencing. And we need to get politicians to stop caring what the press will say. (A.25)

People are not so ready to help ex-prisoners today as they were in the past. (A.13)

Everyone discriminates against ex-prisoners, the mentally-ill and black prisoners. (A. 18)

Sub hypothesis 4.1:The prison experience makes resettlement in community/family more difficult. Hypothesis sustained.

Locking up women is a bad thing. They may get some good provision while they’re in prison, but the problems caused by prison are out of all proportion to any good which might be done. Overall, all women are worse off after being in prison. They lose everything. The needs of women ex- prisoners are not different to those of other women. Crime is just one way of managing their poverty. (A.13)

I just came out and my main concern was to make people pay. Just revenge. I was going to do it again. In prison, we all said that: that we’d make people pay for this. And I did re-offend and served another sentence. I’ve got that out of my system now. But I still haven’t got a job, so what will I do? (XP13)

All prison does is take them out of the community and make them bitter. They lose a lot and she has the stigma when she goes back to her community: the over zealous social worker who doesn’t want the children to return to her! There’s the issue of loss of her home, breakdown in family relationships. Joe Bloggs finds another woman while she’s in custody. Everyone suffers, everyone is punished, not just her. (A.4)

If it wasn’t for the damage prison does to women there’d be no need for any psychological rehabilitation at all. What should be available is something that recognises the context of women’s offending. The problem with ETS [Enhanced Thinking Skills Programme] is that it doesn’t look at social factors and as such it doesn’t fit in with the reasons women offend in the first place. And it’s extremely patronising to women. And I can say that because I delivered it for two years, including a programme for women only. (A.3)

Prison does more harm than good. Women in prison risk losing their children and their homes. There is a loss of confidence. Prison does not provide a therapeutic environment or a basis for


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