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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Donatella Zoia

The article will discuss the particular needs of women prisoners, many of which are replicated in prisons throughout Europe, and are also often undetected and…

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Abstract

The article will discuss the particular needs of women prisoners, many of which are replicated in prisons throughout Europe, and are also often undetected and underestimated. The focus will be on the situation for women in Italian prisons, considering the specific health and social care needs they present, how some needs differ to those of male prisoners, and to what extent the organisation of prison health attempts to meet these needs. The key issue identified is that the organisation of prison health deals predominantly with emergency cases and is not able to provide a preventative healthcare service to women in prison. Also, women prisoners suffer a greater impact on their physical and mental well‐being as a result of poor implementation of healthcare services, as well as from the regime of prison itself.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 1 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Book part
Publication date: 18 September 2018

Laura McKendy

This research explores the subjective health experiences of women incarcerated in a provincial detention center in Ottawa, Canada.

Abstract

Purpose

This research explores the subjective health experiences of women incarcerated in a provincial detention center in Ottawa, Canada.

Methodology/approach

Narrative interviews conducted with 16 previously incarcerated women were analyzed to explore how health issues shaped their experiences in detention.

Findings

Women identified a set of practices and conditions that negatively impacted health, including the denial of medication, medical treatment, and healthcare, limited prenatal healthcare, and damaged health caused by poor living conditions.

Research limitations/implications

Findings suggest that structural health problems emerge in penal environments where healthcare is provided by the same agency responsible for incarceration. The incompatibility between the mandates of incarceration and healthcare suggests that responsibility for institutional healthcare should be transferred to provincial healthcare bodies.

Originality/value

This research responds to the lack of research on carceral health experiences within both penal scholarship and medical sociology, particularly in relation to women and those confined in jails.

Details

Gender, Women’s Health Care Concerns and Other Social Factors in Health and Health Care
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-175-5

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2009

Jane Ireland and Christina Power

This study explores the association between fear of bullying and psychological distress. Participants were 293 adult prisoners, including men (n = 169) and women (n …

Abstract

This study explores the association between fear of bullying and psychological distress. Participants were 293 adult prisoners, including men (n = 169) and women (n = 124), split into groups of ‘pure bullies’ (ie. solely reporting perpetration), ‘bully/victims’ (reporting perpetration and being victimised), ‘pure victims’ (reporting being victimised) and those ‘not‐involved’. All completed the Direct and Indirect Prisoner Behaviour Checklist ‐ Revised (DIPC‐R), a measure of psychological health (General Health Questionnaire: GHQ‐28) and the Fear of Bullying Scale (FBS). The FBS was piloted on a sample of adult male prisoners (n = 69) prior to the main study. It was hypothesised that experience of victimisation would associate with higher levels of fear; that bully/victims would present with higher levels of fear than pure bullies (perpetrators); that fear would be associated with increased levels of psychological distress; and, finally, that women would report higher levels of fear than men. Pure victims reported higher levels of fear than pure bullies and those not‐involved, with bully/victims reporting increased levels of fear in comparison to those not‐involved. These findings did not, however, hold across sex, with women overall reporting higher levels of fear than men. Structural equation models indicated no direct relationship between experiencing victimisation and psychological distress, but rather an indirect relationship through fear of victimisation. The results are discussed with reference to the association between victimisation and psychological distress and the importance of this finding to the wider research field.

Details

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, vol. 1 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-6599

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Heike Zurhold and Christian Haasen

Problematic drug use in prison remains a pervasive and increasing concern throughout the European Union (EU) in terms of costs to the individual, community and the state…

Abstract

Problematic drug use in prison remains a pervasive and increasing concern throughout the European Union (EU) in terms of costs to the individual, community and the state. Drug‐related problems in prison seem to be more prominent among female prisoners, as a high proportion of them are problematic drug users whose use continues in prison. Assuming that women’s drug use is an indication of need for treatment and health care, it becomes increasingly interesting how the European penal institutions differ in their response to this need. For this reason, a survey of the prison drug services for adult female drug users has been carried out among the Ministries of Justice of all 25 EU member states. The main purpose of the survey was to gain comprehensive and systematic information on the prevalence of female problematic drug users in European prisons and the availability of treatment and healthcare services. Altogether, 27 European countries and autonomous regions completed the questionnaire developed for this survey. The results of the data analyses indicate that there is poor availability and quality of data relating to the extent of problematic drug use in women’s prisons and, where it is available, it seems to underestimate the proportion of female problematic drug users in prisons. However, most of the European countries provide a range of different harm‐reduction and drug treatment services to respond to the reported health and rehabilitation problems of female problematic drug users. At the same time, however, it is evident that there is a need for further action in some countries, due to their low provision of prison drug treatment and healthcare services for this group. This article is based upon the European research project ‘Female drug users in European prisons’, which was conducted between 2003 and 2004 and funded by the AGIS Programme, Directorate General Justice and Home Affairs, of the European Commission.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 1 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2017

Azrini Wahidin and Jason Powell

The purpose of this paper is to critically explore the importance of the experiences of female former combatants during the Irish Conflict, colloquially known as “The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically explore the importance of the experiences of female former combatants during the Irish Conflict, colloquially known as “The Troubles” and outline key moments of resistance for female political prisoners during their time at Armagh jail. The paper will situate the analysis within a Foucauldian framework drawing on theoretical tools for understanding power, resistance and subjectivity to contextualise and capture rich narratives and experiences. What makes a Foucauldian analysis of former female combatants of the Conflict so inspiring is how the animation and location of problems of knowledge as “pieces” of the larger contest between The State, institutions of power and its penal subjects (ex-female combatants as prisoners). The paper has demonstrated that the body exists through and in culture, the product of signs and meanings, of discourse and practices.

Design/methodology/approach

This is primarily qualitative methodology underpinned by Foucauldian theory. There were 28 women and 20 men interviewed in the course of this research came from across Ireland, some came from cities and others came from rural areas. Some had spent time in prisons in the UK and others served time in the Republic of Ireland or in the North of Ireland. Many prisoners experienced being on the run and all experienced levels of brutality at the hands of the State. Ethical approval was granted from the Queens University Research Committee.

Findings

This paper only examines the experiences of female ex-combatants and their narratives of imprisonment. What this paper clearly shows through the narratives of the women is the gendered nature of imprisonment and the role of power, resilience and resistance whilst in prison in Northern Ireland. The voices in this paper disturb and interrupt the silence surrounding the experiences of women political prisoners, who are a hidden population, whilst in prison.

Research limitations/implications

In terms of research impact, this qualitative research is on the first of its kind to explore both the experiential and discursive narratives of female ex-combatants of the Irish Conflict. The impact and reach of the research illustrates how confinement revealed rich theoretical insights, drawing from Foucauldian theory, to examine the dialectical interplay between power and the subjective mobilisation of resistance practices of ex-combatants in prison in Northern Ireland. The wider point of prison policy and practice not meeting basic human rights or enhancing the quality of life of such prisoners reveals some of the dystopian features of current prison policy and lack of gender sensitivity to female combatants.

Practical implications

It is by prioritising the voices of the women combatants in this paper that it not only enables their re-positioning at the centre of the struggle, but also moves away methodologically from the more typical sole emphasis on structural conditions and political processes. Instead, prioritising the voices of the women combatants places the production of subjectivities and agencies at the centre, and explores their dialectical relationship to objective conditions and practical constraints.

Social implications

It is clear from the voices of the female combatants and in their social engagement in the research that the prison experience was marked specifically by assaults on their femininity, to which they were the more vulnerable due to the emphasis on sexual modesty within their socialisation and within the ethno-nationalist iconography of femininity. The aggression directed against them seems, in part, to have been a form of gender-based sexual violence in direct retaliation for the threat posed to gender norms by their assumption of the (ostensibly more powerful) role as combatants. They countered this by methods which foregrounded their collective identity as soldiers and their identification with their male comrades in “the same struggle”.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the first to explore the importance of the experiences of female former combatants during the Northern Irish Conflict with specific reference to their experience of imprisonment. The aim of this significant paper is to situate the critical analysis grounded in Foucauldian theory drawing on theoretical tools of power, resistance and subjectivity in order to make sense of women’s experiences of conflict and imprisonment in Ireland. It is suggested that power and resistance need to be re-appropriated in order to examine such unique gendered experiences that have been hidden in mainstream criminological accounts of the Irish Conflict.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2007

Dominique Robert, Sylvie Frigon and Renée Balzile

Using the example of women incarcerated in Canada, this paper aims at showing the necessity of studying prisoners’ health and healthcare through a perspective informed…

Abstract

Using the example of women incarcerated in Canada, this paper aims at showing the necessity of studying prisoners’ health and healthcare through a perspective informed both by a criminology of the body and prison/penal sociology. Health is too often constructed as a set of discrete variables that can be isolated from the whole person and her environment. In this paper, we want to show the complexities and richness of situating carceral health and healthcare within the experience of the body and prison. After describing the situation of women in prison in Canada and their health status before incarceration and while in prison, the intricacies of health, healthcare and punishment will be described and we will conclude by showing how health and the body act as a site of control and a site of resistance for incarcerated women.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Book part
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Allison N. Gorga and Nicole Bouxsein Oehmen

Purpose: This chapter illuminates the ways in which the coherent arrangements of prisons contribute to variation in implementation, functioning, and consequences of a…

Abstract

Purpose: This chapter illuminates the ways in which the coherent arrangements of prisons contribute to variation in implementation, functioning, and consequences of a purportedly gender neutral policy, the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), between women’s and men’s prisons.

Methodology/Approach: Guided by grounded theory, two waves of qualitative interviews with inmates, staff, and volunteers at two Midwest women’s prisons were conducted for a total of 61 interviews. Interviews were supplemented with archival data obtained from state historical archives, news outlets, and the Iowa Department of Corrections, as well as participant observation of prisoner advocacy group meetings and the Iowa Board of Corrections’ meetings, and a content analysis of an online discussion forum for correctional officers.

Findings: We find that the gender subtext of prisons shapes the way the PREA is perceived and implemented. Overall, we argue that due to founding logics that differentially shaped the coherent arrangements of men’s and women’s prisons, blanket policies operate differently in these institutions. The gender subtext of prisons, specifically the structural arrangements and cultural processes within women’s and men’s prisons form different landscapes in which the PREA is perceived, enforced, and responded to.

Practical Implications: Given these findings, we call for gender-informed policy that takes gender subtext into account but that also avoids the trap of statistical discrimination present in some gender responsive policies.

Details

Gender Panic, Gender Policy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-203-1

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2009

Laura R. Shantz and Sylvie Frigon

In this article, we examine the ways in which older women’s experiences of imprisonment, aging, and health impact their lives. Specifically, we focus on the community…

Abstract

In this article, we examine the ways in which older women’s experiences of imprisonment, aging, and health impact their lives. Specifically, we focus on the community reintegration experiences of older women who have served long prison sentences, exploring the lasting effects of imprisonment and aging on their physical and mental health. Two separate Canadian studies of reintegration, consisting of interviews with older reintegrating women, as well as the professionals who assist them in the community, are used to highlight older women’s reintegrations. While researchers have argued that older women should face fewer challenges during reintegration and are more likely to succeed in the community than other reintegrating populations, we find that they experience many difficulties and barriers linked to their age, health and gender.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2016

Lorana Bartels and Patricia Easteal

The purpose of this paper is to explore the incidence and impact of exposure to sexual victimisation for women in the criminal justice system. Key ongoing vulnerabilities…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the incidence and impact of exposure to sexual victimisation for women in the criminal justice system. Key ongoing vulnerabilities in respect of mental health and substance abuse, and their contribution to women’s offending, are examined. Treatment responses to address these women’s trauma in custodial settings are then discussed. It is argued that a therapeutic approach is required to provide a holistic response to victimised women offenders. Unfortunately, instead of doing so, many prisons’ ethos and approaches may actually produce a further layer of vulnerability. The paper concludes with commentary on future directions for research and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The researchers undertook a desk-based literature review, using search terms such as “women”, “corrections”, “sexual abuse and/or victimisation” and “trauma”. The literature was analysed through a feminist framework, adopting a vulnerability paradigm.

Findings

The paper analyses the incidence and impact of sexual victimisation on women prisoners and notes that comprehensive trauma-informed care in custodial settings is needed but highly problematic within a prison context.

Research limitations/implications

The researchers focused primarily on Australia, and the conclusions may therefore be of more limited relevance to imprisoned women in other countries.

Practical implications

The paper suggests good practice requirements for delivering trauma-informed care to victimised women prisoners. Non-custodial alternatives to imprisonment are likely to be more sensitive to many female offenders’ layers of vulnerability.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the relationship between women offenders’ sexual victimisation histories, substance abuse, mental illness and offending behaviour, and demonstrates the need for and challenges in delivering trauma-informed care. The originality derives from the examination of the three rules of abuse (and prisons) and how they correlate with multiple vulnerabilities, which leads to the conclusion that prison is not the best place for rehabilitation of most women.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2005

Deborah Wilmoth

This paper will present the mental health needs that women in prison have, both in terms of the mental health problems they have prior to going into prison and those that…

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157

Abstract

This paper will present the mental health needs that women in prison have, both in terms of the mental health problems they have prior to going into prison and those that they may develop while in prison. These issues will be discussed in the context of the international research data. This paper will also provide information on the special needs that Aboriginal and non‐Australian born women in Australian prisons may have.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 1 no. 2/3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

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