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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 219143 
Title: Bad Girls or Mad Girls: The Coping Mechanism of Female Young Offenders (From Gender and Justice: New Concepts and Approaches, P 147-164, 2006, Frances Heidensohn, ed. -- See NCJ-219137)
Author(s): Nicola Hutson; Carrie Anne Myers
Date Published: 2006
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: Willan Publishing
Portland, OR 97213-3644
Sale Source: Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 5804 N.E. Hassalo Street
Portland, OR 97213-3644
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on qualitative interviews with young females in British prisons, this study examined the mechanisms used by these women to cope with prison life.
Abstract: The use of prescription medicines by prison health-care practitioners was the primary means used by prisons to help female inmates who exhibited depressive symptoms and complained of adverse mental states. This practice was highlighted as a cause for concern by feminist criminologists over 20 years ago. Young female inmates also use the coping method of self-harm, including suicide and unhealthful eating habits. Consistent with the findings of Genders and Player (1987), the current study found that the view of female offenders as being "mad" rather than "bad" still prevails. Some young women do come into prison with pre-existing, diagnosed mental health problems. For many of these young women, issuing medication to them was a "quick fix" that temporarily alleviated the symptoms of the problems they faced, but did nothing to address the conditions and behaviors at the root of their problems. The wider sociological precustodial conditions of their lives were rarely examined and addressed. Feminist criminologists have advocated treatments that are appropriate for women and their gender-related issues, arguing that women are biologically, psychologically, and socially different from men. The women inmates reported their desire for counseling and participation in therapeutic treatment that would help them develop behavioral and mental changes. The research also identified a need to address the separate needs of the "real" self-harmers and the attention-seeking "fakers." All of these issues deserve priority for research and policy development. 17 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile inmates
Index Term(s): Female inmates; Foreign criminal justice research; Inmate suicide; Mental health services; Mentally ill offenders; Self mutilation; United Kingdom (UK)
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