Inappropriate expectations of officials
Many innovative schemes for ex-prisoners fail because the assistance offered is inappropriate to the needs or past histories of the women: for example, women with histories of institutionalisation often prefer supported accommodation, but with privacy, to single occupancy of an isolated flat in a poor area; women with addictions often need longer to abandon their habit than the Projects are willing to give them.
For a variety of reasons, ex-prisoners often do not find the welfare and other agencies with which they deal to be user-friendly. Application forms for obtaining access to information, services, goods and rights are often found to be unintelligible; interagency communication in relation to ex-prisoners’ varied needs often appears to be muddled or
non-existent; and excessive delays can result homelessness and distress.
in increased poverty or prolonged
Lack of understanding of the relationships between resettlement and crime
The difficulty is getting ministers and media to understand the problem. Ministers won’t make the link between rehabilitation and offending. (A.25)
Nor, we might add, will ministers, press or public make a link between the damage prison does, and the subsequent difficulties of reintegration/resettlement.
At present, everything is undercut by overcrowding. (A17)
Every one of the agents interviewed mentioned overcrowding in the women’s prisons as a major reason for non-implementation of programmes, or, where programmes had been implemented, as a main reason for the mismatch between programme and programme participants.
Contextual Causes of Failures to Implement Effective Measures for Resettlement of Women ex-prisoners
Needs One of the most backward-looking steps in the governance of women’s crime in the past couple of decades has been the translation of women’s economic need into women’s criminogenic need. Whereas ‘need’ was previously seen to mean ‘welfare need’, it is nowadays translated into ‘risk of re-offending’ which, in official jargon becomes ‘criminogenic need’ requiring psychological re-programming in prison (Hudson 2002). That is not how ‘criminogenic’ is used in the WORP Action Plan, where it explicitly refers to a number of material needs of female offenders such as housing, employment and generally safer environments. None the less, whatever the intentions of those who employ the word ‘criminogenic’, it is a risky term to use in a criminal justice context where social needs are nowadays too easily translated into psychological needs. By the time they get to prison many women do indeed have complex emotional and mental problems, but, even though all the agents we interviewed recognised that, they were equally convinced that women’s psychological issues could not be usefully addressed independently of their more material and social needs. Yet, programmes holding to the