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NCJ Number: 202374 Find in a Library
Title: Female Repeat Offenders Negotiating Identity
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology  Volume:47  Issue:5  Dated:October 2003  Pages:496-515
Author(s): Brenda Geiger; Michael Fischer
Editor(s): George B. Palermo M.D.
Date Published: October 2003
Page Count: 20
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the process of identity negotiation for Israeli female repeat ex-offenders; whether these women were able to reconstruct their lives and account for their deviation from their role of law-abiding citizens and from motherhood in order to establish a socially acceptable identity.
Abstract: The worst pain of imprisonment for Israeli and United States female offenders is separation from their children. It has been assumed that when dealing with motherhood, female offenders engage in a process of identity negotiation to account for the negative identity of incompetent mother. This study attempted to find out the extent to which Israeli female offenders would be successful in retrospectively rearranging autobiographical information and providing reasonable, legitimate, and credible accounts to renegotiate their deviation from the roles of law-abiding citizen and mother and restore a socially acceptable identity. Research participants included 8 out of 13 female ex-convicts living in a hostel for released female prisoners located in the center of Israel and operated under the prison rehabilitation authority. The research instrument used in this study was the in-depth semistructured interview. Results were divided into seven major areas: (1) antecedents to a life of drugs and crime: a biography of neglect and abuse; (2) drug abuse: consequence of victimization and separation from the children; (3) justifications for illegal behavior; (4) blame turned outward and consequent feelings of anger and injustice; (5) blame turned inward: self-blame, shame, and guilt; (6) loss, grief, estrangement, and alienation; and (7) confronting the past with their children. Study findings revealed that the female offenders that were interviewed invariably came from dysfunctional homes in which they had been the victims of severe physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. Looking at themselves through their children’s eyes, female offenders were simply unable to renegotiate the imputed identity of incompetent mother. This leads to the conclusion that motherhood is part of the center of female offenders’ awareness. References
Main Term(s): Female offenders
Index Term(s): Female inmates; Israel; Parental influence; Recidivism prediction; Rehabilitation; Social reintegration; Women's correctional institutions
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