The successful transition from prison into the community and off probation licence for female ex-offenders can be a difficult time, even more so for those with mental impairments, due to the added barriers they face (Bakken & Visher, 2018; Baillargeon et al., 2009). The aim of this study was to explore this particular group of female ex-offenders with mental impairments and identify how they have been successful in their transition out of probation supervision and towards desistance from crime. This research is important because it focuses on ‘what works’ for long term support of female ex-offenders and moving towards desistance. Through the use of 20 semi structured interviews with, 10 successful female ex-offenders with mental impairments and, 10 professionals who support female offenders, the current research was able to identify the factors that are needed for successful transitions. Female ex-offender participants were recruited from two women centres as were the professionals that work there. The results identified that whilst the basic needs being met were important in achieving successful transition, it was the emotional support and preparedness that was unavailable and was necessary to further achieve desistance. Housing was a priority for the participants as this provided the foundation for all other support. Strengthening the positive family relationships was a key motivator for the women. However, it was not just the practical factors that were important, it was the meanings that the women had attached to things that made them important factors for their desistance. The findings indicated that services supporting reintegration need to build on long term support that not only considers basic needs provision but also supports resilience and change-management through self-agency and empowerment. However, desistance is a dynamic personal process that can change and adapt overtime and therefore, supporting desistance and what is understood as important may be understood differently at the time in retrospect and so provides recommendations for future research.
|Date of Award
|20 Nov 2024
|Carla Reeves (Main Supervisor) & Kate Wood (Co-Supervisor)