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NCJ Number: 208442 Find in a Library
Title: Severed Connections: An Exploration of the Impact of Imprisonment on Women's Familial and Social Connectedness
Author(s): Dot Goulding
Corporate Author: Murdoch University
Date Published: October 2004
Page Count: 62
Sponsoring Agency: Australia Dept of Justice
Perth 6000, Australia
Murdoch University
Perth, Western Australia
Sale Source: Murdoch University
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This study examined how family and community connectedness among female prisoners is affected by incarceration in Australia.
Abstract: Despite the growing number of women incarcerated around the world, scant research has been conducted on women in prison. During the past few years, Australia’s female prisoner population has increased by approximately 110 percent, compared with a 45-percent increase for the male prisoner population. The current study explored the levels of family and community connectedness among female prisoners in an effort to understand how incarceration changes these connections. The study also analyzed the way in which socio-economic status, ethnicity, and the locations of prisons affect the experiences of incarcerated women. Participants were 52 women prisoners or newly released former prisoners in Australia and 33 of their family members. Interviews focused on their understanding of the prison experience and how incarceration affected the ability to reintegrate with their families and communities upon release. The findings indicated that although the women came from vastly diverse backgrounds, they all shared common experiences, including histories of abuse and mental illness. Incarcerated women shared express concerns about their ability to reconnect with children, family, and their communities upon their release. Factors hindering reconnection included homelessness, social isolation, addictions, mental illness, self-harm, and suicide. Family members expressed confusion regarding the legal process and feelings of hurt and fear during prison visits. The concerns and barriers described in the findings suggest the need for effective strategies to bridge previous connections with family and communities for women prisoners and for newly released women. Recommendations include increased use of alternatives to imprisonment, effective screening mechanisms for women prisoners at risk of suicide, and the establishment of halfway houses for women nearing release or as alternatives to prison. Figures, bibliography
Main Term(s): Australia; Female inmates
Index Term(s): Community support; Family reunification; Family support
Note: Downloaded January 18, 2005.
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