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NCJ Number: 200320 Find in a Library
Title: Women Behind Bars: Explanations and Implications
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:42  Issue:2  Dated:May 2003  Pages:123-136
Author(s): Jo Deakin; Jon Spencer
Editor(s): Frances Crook
Date Published: May 2003
Page Count: 14
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: By using official statistics, this article examines possible explanations for current levels of female incarceration and presents this increase within the context of recent developments in risk assessment under the recent “what works” strategy exemplified by the accredited program initiative.
Abstract: The United Kingdom is in line with many industrialized countries with its increase in the women’s prison population occurring at an alarming rate. However, the risk to society by these women is minimal based on the types of offenses and the lengths of sentences they receive. Current sentencing trends appear to disregard the understanding that a great deal of inmates, mainly women, pose no risk to the public. Yet, the personal and social costs to incarcerated women, as well as the economic costs to society, can be enormous. This article examines some of the explanations for the growth in female imprisonment through increased levels of crime amongst women, increasingly serious female offending, the problem of retention, lack of viable alternatives, and risk assessment under the effective practice agenda. The over-use of custody for women is a serious issue with far-reaching consequences on those women sentenced to periods of imprisonment. The implications as related to policy are that the government should review sentencing practices curbing the powers of those who sentence to use custody for short periods of time; there needs to be a radical shift in focus in criminal justice practice with women, notably in the areas of risk assessment and intervention; and lastly, there needs to be some recognition of what women want when placed on community supervision. References
Main Term(s): Female offenders
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Female inmates; Females; Incarceration; Sentence effectiveness; Sentencing statistics
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