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  • The processes of imprisonment are logically inimical to those of reintegration

The reduction of prisoner recidivism cannot be a prime function of imprisonment because the logical requirement that prisons keep prisoners in custody (and take the necessary measures for ensuring that they are kept in) means that security requirements must routinely be given priority over therapeutic needs. (See also Carlen 2002a) As a result:

  • The processes of imprisonment are operationally inimical to those of

reintegration It has been well-documented that the necessary observance of security requirements is likely to erode and undermine possibilities for the establishment of the conditions conducive to a therapeutic environment. Carlen’s study of a range of jurisdictions engaged in women’s prison reform indicated that reform attempts tended to be halted or even reversed whenever security was threatened (Carlen 2002c). Hannah Moffat’s seminal study of ten year’s of a reform programme in the federal Women’s Prisons in Canada indicated that throughout the period reform strategies were being continuously undermined by the ‘encroachment’ of security concerns (Hannah Moffat 2001, 2002).

  • The processes of imprisonment are empirically inimical to those of reintegration

Much of this report has been concerned with recording the views of both prisoners and

professionals imprisonment in prison are

in the criminal justice and penal systems that the processes of necessary (or conventionally considered necessary) to keeping prisoners inimical to enhancing their chances of resettling in society. Goffman

(1961) long ago prison and these

itemised the processes of institutionalisation that necessarily occur in processes still debilitate and cannot be reversed by prison programmes

contextually undermined by the very nature of imprisonment. A punishment and, correct though it is that there should be ongoing

prison is a attempts to

place for minimise

the harm that prisons do, whenever any aspect of prison as punishment through custody is threatened the response is as very neatly described a few years ago governor of a women’s prison:

secure by the

The point is: we have the institutional dilemma of saying to women, ‘Be assertive, be confident’. And as soon as they begin to exercise that assertiveness, staff say, ‘Whoa, there. This is a prison; get back there’. And they put them back into an infantile dependent mode. So there is always this battle and conflict going on. (Prison Governor in Carlen 1998: 89)

And necessarily so. A prison is a prison is a prison. Furthermore, and on the evidence adduced in this report, we would contend that not only is there a contradiction between the principles and the practices of imprisonment and the principles and practices of rehabilitation which are irreconcilable but that while in-prison programming in the name of rehabilitation is used to justify imprisoning women seen to be ‘at risk’ of recidivism

because of

their already


of their crimes,


situation, rather than because of

the women’s

prison population in England and Wales

the will

continue to rise. If that occurs, then it designed to implement a holistic effectively realised.

is unlikely that the and co-ordinated

present innovatory Action Plans rehabilitative strategy will be


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