Women in Crime - Forensic Network

Report
www.sccjr.ac.uk
Women in Crime
Michele Burman
University of Glasgow
Clinical Forum: Prison. SPS College Polmont , 26th March 2013
www.sccjr.ac.uk
Overview
• Patterns of female offending
– The picture in Scotland – ‘The Drivers of Female Imprisonment’
• Characteristics of female offenders, particularly
those who are incarcerated
• Challenges of working with women who are in the
criminal justice system
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Universal truths about female offenders I
• Commit (much) less crime than men
– in Scotland, account for approx 18 % of crimes and offences
overall) (& approx 13% of crime by under 21yr olds)
• Outnumbered by men in all major crime categories
– Lower involvement in serious violence, criminal damage
and professional crime
• Women tend to commit a different range of offences
from men
• Typically relatively minor offences
– More likely to commit more acquisitive offences and
property-related offences than anything else
– 32% of women arrested in E and W in 2005/06 were for theft
and handling stolen goods
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Universal truths about female offenders II
• Pose less ‘risk’ to public
• Fewer previous convictions
• ‘Criminal careers’ shorter, truncated
– Onset of offending = 13 males, 14 females
– Peak age of offending = 18 for males, 15 for females
– By age 17, males outnumber female offenders by ratio of 3:1
• Rate of persistence lower than males
• Desistance a marked feature
see: Burman, 2004; Gelsthorpe and Sharpe, 2006; 2009; McIvor,2004; Sheehan et al 2007
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Routes into offending
• Financial Pressures
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– The feminisation of poverty
Addictions
– Especially substance misuse)
Emotional pressures/coercions (often from partners)
– Prostitution; Dealing;
Consumer pressures (often from dependents)
Gaining respect from peers
Risk-taking/excitement
– Especially for young women (‘having a laugh’)
(see, Batchelor, 2007; Burman and Batchelor 2009. Malloch 2004; Chesney Lind and
Pasko 2004)
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International Picture
• Rates of female offending fairly constant
• Numbers convicted have not increased
• But numbers directly sentenced to imprisonment and
remanded into custody have increased dramatically
In many countries, incl. Australia, Barbados, Bolivia,
Colombia, England and Wales, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan,
Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, and USA, the female
prison population has increased at a faster rate than the
male prison population (Walmsley, 2012)
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Women and prison in Scotland
• Longstanding policy concern
• Unsuccessful attempts to reduce female prison population
– A Safer Way (1998); A Better Way (2002)
• Creation of more prison beds for women .....
• ‘Dismal and depressing’ HMIP reports.....
• Increasing policy concern about consequences
– overcrowding
– ineffectiveness of short sentences
– damaging effects of imprisonment on women and their families
Commission on Women Offenders
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The Drivers of Female Imprisonment
• 2011-2012 average daily female prison population
8% to 468
• Females currently constitute 6% of prison population
– Feb 2001 = 230 (3.8%); May 2006 = 365; June 2010 = 435
• Since 2000, female imprisonment shown sharpest rate of growth
– almost doubled - comparative increase amongst male population of 25%
– average daily women’s prison population
106% (Scottish Government, 2011)
•
Increases in direct sentence and remand
– number of women remanded to custody almost doubled from 1999-2001 to
2008-09 (from 1,176 to 2,338)
– only around 30% of women on remand go on to receive a custodial sentence
(see, McIvor and Burman, 2011)
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Average daily female population in penal establishments by type of custody
1999-2009
450
400
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
1999-0
2000-1
2001-2
2002-3
2003-4
remanded
2004-5
sentenced
2005-6
2006-7
total
Growing daily female prison population (210 413 )
Sentenced (156  280)
Remand (54  133)
2007-8
2008-9
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Female direct sentenced receptions by length of sentence 1999-2009
290
270
250
230
Average sentence
210
190
170
150
1999-0
2000-1
2001-2
2002-3
2003-4
2004-5
2005-6
2006-7
2007-8
2008-9
Increasing length of custodial sentence imposed
228 days 271 days
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Female Prison population by sentence length: 1999-00 to 2009-10
140
6 months - less than 2 years
4 years or over (excluding life)
120
2 years - less than 4 years
Less than 6 months
Life/Section 205/206 sentences
Average daily population
100
80
60
40
20
0
1999-00
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
2006-07
2007-08
2008-09
2009-10
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Key conclusions from 10yr review
• No evidence that more women are coming into contact with the criminal
justice system
• No evidence that women are committing more serious offences
• Courts are increasingly likely to imprison women for a range of
offences and for a longer sentence length
• Increased punitiveness most evident in relation to ‘older‘ age groups (30
years +)
Continuing upward trend …….
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Reasons for increased imprisonment?
• increased number of (older)
repeat offenders
• increased unemployment and
marginalization of women
• increase as result of efficiency
changes to the courts/ CJS
– e.g. increased sentencing
powers, bail and legal aid
reforms
• reflection of wider social
problems (alcohol/drugs)
• Risk/needs confusions
• prison as ‘social service’
– gendered perceptions of
women’s ‘needs’ and the way
that this can work against
some women as well as in
their favour
• ‘rolling back’ of welfare state
provisions
• community sanctions seen as
‘inappropriate’
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Characteristics of females in prison
Limited life opportunities
– social exclusion
– lack of support
– absence of relationships
– family breakdown
– limited education/work
skills
Financially constrained
– poverty
– care responsibilities
– accommodation needs
Childhood experiences of
institutional care
Backgrounds of abuse
– sexual and violent
victimisation
– risky sexual lives
Health difficulties
– poor physical health
– addictions (drugs and
alcohol)
– mental health
– self- harming
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Health needs assessment
see: Plugge et al 2006, Univ of Oxford
• Women in custody 5 x more likely to have a mental health
concern than women in general population
•
78% exhibiting psychological disturbance on reception,
– compared with 15% for general adult female population.
•
58% had used drugs daily in the six months before prison
•
75% had taken an illicit drug in those six months.
– crack cocaine, heroin, cannabis and benziodiazepines most widely
used drugs
•
42% drank alcohol in excess of government guidelines prior to
imprisonment.
– Comparable figure for general adult female population is 22%
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Self harm – the norm?
• High levels of self-harm
• Persistent and severe selfmutilation
• Stems from deep-rooted and
long-term complex life
experiences
– E.g. violence, sexual
victimisation and lack of care
• Implications for prison staff
– E.g. lack of training; lack of
understanding of motivation
for harming
See, Plugge et al 2006; Corston 2007)
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Mothers and Children
Appropriate and adequate provisions?
Contact? Health care? Loss of children?
Effects of separation?
(see Murray and. Farrington. 2008; Convery and Moore, 2011)
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Complex life circumstances
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High rates of mental illness
Backgrounds of victimisation
Self harm
Aggressive tendencies
Learning difficulties /disabilities
Suicide risk (esp. young women)
Run aways
……….Highlights need for gender sensitive
approaches
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Young Women: the Forgotten Few?
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Health needs assessment for
young women in YOIs (Plugge, 2008)
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41% had been adopted or in foster care
9 out of 10 had left education by age 17
71% had some level of psychiatric disturbance
over one-third (36%) had self-harmed the last month
most (82%) had used illegal drugs in previous 6mths
26% had ˂ 3 sexual partners in past year (15% used
condoms)
 23%had been diagnosed with an STI and 1 in 10 had
been paid for sex
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Bangkok Rules
“Alternative ways of managing women who commit offences,
such as diversionary measures and pre trial and sentencing
alternatives, shall be implemented wherever appropriate and
possible” (Rule 58)
Need for services/resources that are:
–community-based
–gender sensitive
–trauma-informed
–designed to meet women’s diverse needs
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Imprisonment, human rights, social justice
• Prison systems and prison regimes are almost invariably designed
for the majority male prison population
– from the architecture of prisons, to security procedures, to facilities for
healthcare, family contact, work and training.
• Prisons tend not to meet the needs of women prisoners, and women
in prison are affected by imprisonment in a particularly harsh way.
• Concerns to maintain the legitimacy of the CJS, reduce
imprisonment for both women (and men), respond to women’s
distinctive needs + support children of imprisoned parents at the
same time
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What Works for Women and Girls ?
• What works for women
doesn’t necessarily work
for men
• Age and gender sensitivity
• Holistic approach
• Address complexity
• Flexible
• Motivated, trained staff
• Focus on building
relationships
• Mentoring
• Trauma-informed
• Positive pathways out of
offending
• Practical life skills
• Strengths-based
see, Batchelor & Burman, 2004;; McIvor 2004; Carlen, 2001; Chesney-Lind et al, 2001;
Gelsthorpe, Sharp and Roberts 2007).
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In conclusion …..
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Growing numbers …..
Risks posed relatively slight ….
Multiplicity of need ….
Social realities from which young female offenders come
and to which they will return …..
• Can prisons ever be suitable places for the vulnerable
women who are placed there?
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References
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Batchelor, S. ( 2005) 2005) 'Prove me the bam!': victimization and agency in the lives of young
women who commit violent offences. Probation Journal, 52 (4)
Burman, M. and Batchelor, S. ( 2009) ‘Between two stools? Responding to Young Women who
Offend’ Youth Justice 9(3)
Carlen, P. and Worrall, A. (2004) Analysing Women’s Imprisonment Cullompton, Devon: Willan
Commission on Women Offenders ( 2012) Report of the Commission on Women Offenders
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0039/00391828.pdf
Convery, U. and Moore,L (2011). ‘Children of imprisoned parents and their problems’, in P.
Scharff-Smith and L. Gampell, eds. Children of imprisoned parents. Denmark: Jes Ellehauge
Hansen.
Corston Report ( 2007) Report of a Review of women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal
justice system London: Home Office
Loucks, N., Malloch, M, McIvor, G. and Gelsthorpe, L. (2006) Evaluation of the 218 Centre
Edinburgh Scottish Executive
Malloch, M. ( 2004) ‘Women, Drug Use and the Criminal Justice System’ in G. McIvor (ed)
Women who Offend London: Jessica Kingsley
McIvor, G. and Burman, M. (2011) Drivers of Female Imprisonment in Scotland Scottish Centre
for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR) Research Report
McIvor, G. ( 2004) Women Who Offend London; Jessica Kingsley
Murray, L. and. Farrington., D. (2008) ‘The Effects of Parental Imprisonment on Children’, Crime
and justice: A review of research. 37. 133 – 206.
www.sccjr.ac.uk
References
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Plugge, E, Douglas N, and Fitzpatrick, R. (2006) The Health of Women in Prison; Study Findings,
Department of Public Health University of Oxford
Plugge, E. ( 2008) The health needs of imprisoned female juvenile offenders: the views of the
young women prisoners and youth justice professionals, International Journal of Prison Health
4(2)
Scottish Executive (2002) A Better Way: The Report of the Ministerial Group on Women’s .
Offending. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive
Scottish Prisons Commission ( 2008) Scotland’s Choice Edinburgh The Scottish Prisons
Commission
Social Work Services and Prisons Inspectorate for Scotland (1998) Women Offenders: A Safer
Way: A Review of Community Disposals and the Use of Custody for Women Offenders in
Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive
Walmsley, R. ( 2012) World Female Imprisonment List (Women and girls in penal institutions,
including pre-trial detainees/remand prisoners) 2nd edition. International Centre for Prison Studies

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