Working with Women Offenders in the Community

Working with Women Offenders in the Community

Working with Women Offenders in the Community

Working with Women Offenders in the Community

Synopsis

Though many more women offenders are supervised in the community than in custody, much less is known about their needs and effective approaches to their supervision, support and treatment. Whilst there has been recent attention paid to responding to the needs of women in prison, negligible attention has been paid to women exiting prison, or on community based orders, and what is needed to work with them to reduce re-offending or entry into prison.

Contributions to this book challenge policy-makers and corrections systems to concentrate more on community provision for women offenders and resist popular calls for more punitive responses to all offenders, women included. Contributors come from a wide range of countries including Australia, Canada, UK and USA. They argue that the criminogenic lens applied to women's offending must be gender-responsive if systems are to be successful at addressing the disadvantage and risk associated with offending behaviour.

Working With Women Offenders in the Community builds on ideas presented in the editors' previous book, What Works With Women Offenders (2007), extending the focus particularly on women offenders in the community rather than in prison. This book concentrates on women who have committed criminal offences and who may have been placed on probation or other community based court orders or who have been released from prison on parole. It discusses the work done by professional workers including probation officers, community corrections officers and specialist case managers in areas such as drug treatment, housing, mental health or employment programmes.

This book will be of interest to professional probation officers, case managers, drug treatment workers and others who work with women offenders. It will also be essential reading for students of criminology, social work, psychology, sociology and other disciplines who have an interest in women offenders.

Excerpt

Cross-national interest in the specific needs of women offenders led to the international conference ‘What Works with Women Offenders: Challenging stereotypes and achieving change’, hosted by Monash University, Australia at the Monash Centre in Prato, Italy, 10–12 September 2007. Speakers and delegates addressed the differing needs of women offenders, more effectively met by working with women in the community, and concentrating on programmes and interventions that divert women away from custody and improve their quality of life. Conference delegates confirmed that responses to women offenders which addressed their physical and mental health problems, their relationships with their children and families, their work and life skills, were successful in maintaining women’s desistance from offending.

The idea for the book arose out of this conference, convened by Rosemary Sheehan. Research presented suggested strategies that might not only reduce women’s offending but also prevent women from entering the criminal justice system. Though many more women offenders are supervised in the community than in custody, much less is known about their needs and effective approaches to their supervision, support and treatment. Authors who contributed to this book challenge policy-makers and corrections systems to concentrate more on community provision for women offenders and to resist popular calls for more punitive responses to all offenders, women included. The range of authors from Australia, Canada, UK and USA all argue that the criminogenic lens applied to women’s offending must be gender-responsive if systems are to be successful . . .

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