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Book part
Publication date: 2 July 2020

Marion Vannier

Some countries prohibit the imposition of life imprisonment on women but allow it for men for the same offence (e.g. Albania, Azerbaijan, Russia and Belarus). In Khamtokhu

Abstract

Some countries prohibit the imposition of life imprisonment on women but allow it for men for the same offence (e.g. Albania, Azerbaijan, Russia and Belarus). In Khamtokhu and Aksenchik v. Russia (2017) the European Court of Human Rights rejected the claim that it was discriminatory to punish two Russian men convicted of murder to life imprisonment. Other than a handful of legal commentaries there have been no in-depth analyses of the case, in particular on the dangers of using gender stereotyping to limit life imprisonment. To address this gap, this chapter draws on criminological works on the gendered experience of life imprisonment, legal analyses of perpetual incarceration under human rights law and ECHR case law on gender stereotyping and on life imprisonment. This study critically discusses the Court’s assessment of gender stereotypes in the context of life imprisonment and considers whether its approach constitutes any improvement for women. In so doing, it illuminates how well-intended efforts to curtail some extreme forms of penal practices such as perpetual incarceration may have unintended and perverse consequences for women specifically and the landscape of punishment more generally.

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The Emerald Handbook of Feminism, Criminology and Social Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-956-4

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Book part
Publication date: 16 September 2020

Lucy Baldwin

In recent years, the topic of maternal imprisonment has experienced a significantly raised profile, generating new knowledge and understanding surrounding the impact of…

Abstract

In recent years, the topic of maternal imprisonment has experienced a significantly raised profile, generating new knowledge and understanding surrounding the impact of maternal imprisonment on mothers and their children (Baldwin, 2015, 2017, 2018; Baldwin & Epstein, 2017; Booth, 2017; Lockwood, 2017, 2018; Masson, 2019). However, the long-term impact of maternal imprisonment and subsequent resettlement, particularly in relation to maternal identity and emotion, is less well-researched or understood. This chapter, drawing on the authors research from across two projects with 46 post imprisoned mothers, highlights the significant impact, as described by the mothers, on their reintegration into their families and the persistent pains of maternal imprisonment. Mothers sometimes, decades post release, describe their ongoing trauma at being separated from their children, sometimes permanently. Those who remain in their children's lives describe how they feel ‘tainted’, ‘watched’, ‘judged’ and ‘permanently changed by their imprisonment’. For the mothers in the study who were also grandmothers, the effects appeared magnified, producing what grandmothers described as ‘layers of shame’. The chapter describes how this change, often negative perception of themselves as mothers, can interplay with mothers' ability to engage in rehabilitative processes and ultimately their desistance.

The chapter concludes with recommendations to avoid, wherever possible, the criminalisation of mothers, resulting in fewer imprisonments. In the event of imprisonment, greater consideration must be afforded to maternal experience and emotions. To maximise success, early resettlement work, starting within and continuing through the prison gates is essential. Failure to do so may impact negatively on mothers' themselves and their ability to engage in rehabilitative planning/supervision and therefore desistance, which will ultimately broaden the impact to their children and wider society.

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Book part
Publication date: 16 September 2020

Sarah Beresford, Jenny Earle, Nancy Loucks and Anne Pinkman

From June 2017 to May 2018, the Prison Reform Trust partnered with Families Outside to identify the particular impacts on children of a mother's involvement in the…

Abstract

From June 2017 to May 2018, the Prison Reform Trust partnered with Families Outside to identify the particular impacts on children of a mother's involvement in the criminal justice system. This included a literature review and extensive consultations with 25 children and 31 mothers with lived experience. This chapter presents the main findings of the research, which identified five key themes: ‘Children with a mother in prison are invisible within the systems that are there to protect them’; ‘Every aspect of a child's life may be disrupted when a mother goes to prison’; ‘Children feel stigmatised when a mother is involved in the criminal justice system’; ‘Children affected by imprisonment face many barriers to support’ and ‘With the right support, children can become more resilient and develop the skills they need to thrive’. The material presented in this chapter constitutes a compelling case for reform. The chapter concludes with recommendations for action at local and national levels to protect children from the harm caused by maternal imprisonment.

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2019

Oscar Bloem, Erik Bulten and Robbert-Jan Verkes

Low levels of subjective wellbeing in prisoners may relate to mental health problems and difficulties in reintegration after imprisonment. The development of subjective…

Abstract

Purpose

Low levels of subjective wellbeing in prisoners may relate to mental health problems and difficulties in reintegration after imprisonment. The development of subjective wellbeing during imprisonment is mostly unclear. The purpose of this paper is to explore this development in a longitudinal study in association with mental disorders and socioeconomic factors.

Design/methodology/approach

Subjective wellbeing was assessed via a visual analogue scale and retrieved at admission to remand prison and then again after four and eight weeks. Changes in subjective wellbeing between time-points were analyzed taking into account mental disorders and socioeconomic factors, which were assessed by use of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview – Plus and the Camberwell Assessment of Need – Forensic Version, respectively.

Findings

On average, subjective wellbeing declined directly after remand prison admission, but differences between individuals were found. At remand prison admission, subjective wellbeing significantly improved rather than declined in prisoners with alcohol and substance use disorders, housing problems, unemployment prior to incarceration and in relatively older prisoners. Other related factors did not add significance to this model. In contrast, during remand imprisonment subjective wellbeing displayed an overall increase. For this increase, no predicting factors were found. However, prisoners with an antisocial personality disorder are more at risk of experiencing a decrease in wellbeing during remand imprisonment.

Originality/value

In general, the Dutch prison system appears not to result in a decrease in subjective wellbeing in prisoners suffering from a mental disorder during remand imprisonment.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2015

Khadra Abdi Jama-Alol, Eva Malacova, Anna Ferrante, Janine Alan, Louise Stewart and David Preen

The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of offence type, prior imprisonment and various socio-demographic characteristics on mortality at 28 and 365 days…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of offence type, prior imprisonment and various socio-demographic characteristics on mortality at 28 and 365 days following prison release.

Design/methodology/approach

Using whole-population linked, routinely collected administrative state-based imprisonment and mortality data, the authors conducted a retrospective study of 12,677 offenders released from Western Australian prisons in the period 1994-2003. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine the association between mortality at 28 and 365 days post-release and offence type, prior imprisonment, and a range of socio-demographic characteristics (age, gender, social disadvantage and Indigenous status).

Findings

Overall, 135 (1.1 per cent) died during the 365 days follow-up period, of these, 17.8 per cent (n=24) died within the first 28 days (four weeks) of their index release. Ex-prisoners who had committed drug-related offences had significantly higher risk of 28-day post-release mortality (HR=28.4; 95 per cent CI: 1.3-615.3, p=0.033), than those who had committed violent (non-sexual) offences. A significant association was also found between the number of previous incarcerations and post-release mortality at 28 days post-release, with three prior prison terms carrying the highest mortality risk (HR=73.8; 95 per cent CI: 1.8-3,092.5, p=0.024). No association between mortality and either offence type or prior imprisonment was seen at 365 days post-release.

Originality/value

Post-release mortality at 28 days was significantly associated with offence type (with drug-related offences carrying the greatest risk) and with prior imprisonment, but associations did not persist to 365 days after release. Targeting of short-term transitional programmes to reduce preventable deaths after return to the community could be tailored to these high-risk ex-prisoners.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 11 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Book part
Publication date: 16 September 2020

Shona Minson

The chapter is based on studies that explored the consideration of motherhood as a mitigating factor when sentencing women to imprisonment in criminal courts in England…

Abstract

The chapter is based on studies that explored the consideration of motherhood as a mitigating factor when sentencing women to imprisonment in criminal courts in England and Wales. Drawing upon two studies I conducted, it examines the way in which motherhood has been constructed by the courts and the difficulties in centring women's experiences within sentencing. It demonstrates how only by moving to a focus on children's rights has it been possible to ensure sentencers consider the implications of a defendant's motherhood.

The chapter outlines the parameters within which a sentencer can consider motherhood and explores some of the findings from the qualitative research I undertook with Crown Court judges, as part of a larger study in which I also interviewed children whose mother was at the time of interview in prison and the adults providing care to the children in her absence. The studies found that there was inconsistent understanding of a sentencer's duty to consider the impact of any sentence upon dependent children, coupled with a lack of understanding of the consequences of maternal imprisonment for a child. The ways in which this contravenes the Human Rights Act, 1998 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 are identified.

The resources which have been developed for sentencing professionals as a consequence of that work are discussed before considering the lack of concern for women's motherhood when imprisoning women on remand or recall. The chapter concludes with a call for motherhood, and not just children's rights, to be centred in sentencing decisions.

Details

Mothering from the Inside
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-344-0

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Book part
Publication date: 25 October 2019

Marie Anne Hutton

The title of this chapter was inspired by Martin, a prisoner the author met while conducting fieldwork. Martin remarked that, despite the common rhetoric around prisoners…

Abstract

The title of this chapter was inspired by Martin, a prisoner the author met while conducting fieldwork. Martin remarked that, despite the common rhetoric around prisoners ‘maintaining’ their family ties, the reality was that during imprisonment it became more about trying to cling on to them. Imprisonment is perhaps one of the most brutal disruptions a family can undergo, leaving them little choice but to adapt to this enforced transition. Immediately, the spaces where family life can happen narrow severely and become dictated by the prison environment and the plethora of rules that regulate it. The immediate physical separation, onerous restrictions on physical contact and the heavily surveilled nature of family contact during imprisonment constricts space for emotional expression, often rendering romantic relationships clandestine and fatherhood attenuated. Further, the temporal space for family is reduced as limited opportunities for visits lead prisoners to eschew contact with wider family members and prioritise their ‘nuclear’ family. Drawing on empirical research conducted at two male prisons in England and Wales, this chapter then, will detail the complexities of how families navigate this transition and the limitations on what family can mean in the prison environment. The chapter will conclude with the implications of these restrictions for the ultimate transition when prisoners return ‘home’.

Details

Families in Motion: Ebbing and Flowing through Space and Time
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-416-3

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Book part
Publication date: 16 September 2020

Kelly Lockwood

Abstract

Details

Mothering from the Inside
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-344-0

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Book part
Publication date: 16 September 2020

Kelly Lockwood

Imprisonment has the potential to significantly impact mothering (Lockwood, 2017). For some women, imprisonment may present the opportunity to repair and rebuild fractured…

Abstract

Imprisonment has the potential to significantly impact mothering (Lockwood, 2017). For some women, imprisonment may present the opportunity to repair and rebuild fractured relationships with their children; however, for many, being separated from their children is constructed as the most difficult aspect of imprisonment (Crewe, Hulley, & Wright, 2017), with the potential to severely alter, disrupt or even terminate mothering (Lockwood, 2017; 2018). Available research highlights the importance of mothering in relation to women's adjustment to and experiences of imprisonment and upon their rehabilitation, resettlement and potential reunification (Baldwin, 2017; Lockwood, 2017, Lockwood, 2018). However, consistent with prison policy and practice, available research tends to rely on narrow definitions that often construct motherhood in relation to younger children, under the age of 18 (Caddle & Crisp, 1997). Consequently, the stories, experiences and needs of mothers in prison with older adult children often remain unheard.

Focussing on the individual stories of mothers in prison and those who have recently been released from prison, within this chapter, I consider the way in which women story motherhood in relation to older adult children. Presenting three interrelated narratives, ‘Mothering from a distance: stories of missing out on children's transitions to adulthood’; ‘“Motherwork: stories of participating in mothering adult children’ and ‘“Role reversal: stories of receiving support from adult children’, I consider the specific challenges and opportunities for mothers in prison with older adult children.

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Book part
Publication date: 10 October 2014

Maggy Lee and K. Joe Laidler

This chapter aims to examine the ways in which gender has featured in Hong Kong’s prison system from its colonial origins to its contemporary form as a politically…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter aims to examine the ways in which gender has featured in Hong Kong’s prison system from its colonial origins to its contemporary form as a politically autonomous region of China. We conclude with a discussion on the reasons for these recent trends of imprisonment.

Design/methodology/approach

We draw from the concepts of patriarchy and colonialism to examine how gender has operated and shaped Hong Kong’s prison system. Our analysis is based on historical and contemporary government reports and other documents and secondary data.

Findings

Similar to other locales around the world, Hong Kong’s prison system was designed for and by men in its early colonial days, as expected given that most prisoners were male. Although a few prison administrators attempted to provide some programs for women and voiced concern over the conditions of women’s imprisonment to colonial authorities during the latter part of the 1800s, it was not until the 1930s that the first female prison was established. Since then, Hong Kong prison authorities have faced the challenge of a phenomenal and rapid growth in women’s imprisonment, which resulted in a historical reversal of shifting male prisoners to alternate accommodation to make room for their female counterparts.

Originality/value

This study is among the few which have examined how gender operates in the context of imprisonment in a colonial and postcolonial context. This chapter does this by examining how colonial authorities managed competing political debates about the purpose of punishment and cultural understandings of race and difference, and the limited recognition of gender and difference. It also examines how, in postcolonial Hong Kong, authorities have placed gender center stage and the reasons for this in coping and dealing with the growth in women’s imprisonment.

Details

Punishment and Incarceration: A Global Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-907-2

Keywords

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