We sponsor research to bring about change in how women and girls are dealt with in the criminal justice system

Our research listings

Research Papers and Briefings

At the end of their year on the Griffins Society Fellowship Programme, Fellows produce a 10,000 word Research Paper on their findings. Research Papers are available here to view or download as a PDF (the size of each file is given).  

For all papers you will find the REPORT IN FULL, and also a single-page ABSTRACT.  For more recent papers, an EXECUTIVE SUMMARY is also available.

Fellows' research can be freely copied and distributed as long as the author and the Griffins Society are credited.


 

Is there a difference in the perception of risk: between IPP prisoners and members of the parole board.

Author: 
Dawn McAleenan
Published: 
2012

Indeterminate Public Protection (IPP) was introduced in 2005. Unlike other prisoners, those subject to an IPP order do not have a specified date for release —release will only be granted by the Parole Board (PB) when it is considered that risk has been significantly reduced. The aim of this research was to explore perception of risk from three different perspectives: female prisoners under an IPP order; PB members; and legal advisors who have experience in representing female IPP prisoners at parole hearings. The research was conducted using semi-structured interviews with ten female prisoners, two legal advisors and one senior member of the Parole Board (PB).

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Moving forward: empowering women to desist from offending

Author: 
Shelly-Ann McDermott
Published: 
2012

This qualitative research explores women’s experiences of empowerment, desistance and compliance. The main objective was to capture women’s insights about their experiences of empowerment during their engagement with enforced community sentences. The questions asked were: • What factors do women identify as important for desistance? • What is empowerment? • Is being empowered an important part of desistance? • Does enforced contact with interventions empower women, or does a court order undermine empowerment? • What contributes to women’s decisions about engagement and compliance? The study engaged directly with seven women sentenced to woman-specific court orders delivered within London Probation. [NB. From November 2010, London Probation implemented two woman-specific Specified Activity Requirements, available within a Community Order or Suspended Sentence Order. The two activities are the Structured Supervision for Women (SSW) one-to-one programme and sessions with Women Ahead at the Jagonari Women's Education and Resource Centre (WERC).]

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Sentencing women: Considering the factors that influence decision-making through interviews with sentencers & probation officers

Author: 
Matina Marougka
Published: 
2012

It is widely thought that women are disproportionate imprisoned in comparison to their male counterparts. It might be expected that this would have changed following publication of the Corston Report (Home Office, 2007) but there has been little research about the sentencing of women since Corston. This research project is based on interviews with judges, magistrates and probation officers in order to explore the factors that influence decision-making when sentencing women; and what sentencers take into account when they sentence or remand women to custody. The research also explores the interviewees’ awareness of women-specific needs and gender-specific community resources - and the influence that this knowledge may have on the sentencing process. Interviewees were also invited to comment on how they use community options and prison remand for women.

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'Score, smoke, back on the beat': an exploration of the impact of homelessness on exiting street sex working in Manchester

Author: 
Louise Sandwith
Published: 
2011

The purpose of this research was to explore how and why women get into sex work and the factors which lead them to continue. The research looked at the issues for women wanting to exit sex work - and considered, in particular, homelessness and how this impacts upon the choices available. The research was undertaken using qualitative methods comprising interviews with women working in the industry and with accommodation providers.

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Seeing differently: working with girls affected by gangs

Author: 
Jessica Southgate
Published: 
2011

While concern has grown in recent years about the extent of gang activity in Britain, the ways in which girls and young women are affected tends to be overlooked or distorted. This research aimed to address this gap by investigating how those working closely with young women defined their gang-association and what they believed to be the most effective way of responding to this. It looked to a small but vibrant number of voluntary and community sector organisations (VCSOs) to see how they have responded to meet girls' needs through their work and the challenges they faced in delivering this.

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Exploring the experiences of minority ethnic women in resettlement: what role if any, does ethnic culture play in the resettlement of Black (African-Caribbean) women offenders in the UK?

Author: 
Elizabeth Owens
Published: 
2010

The aim was to explore the experiences of black and minority ethnic women in resettlement in order to form a picture of resettlement from their perspective and to determine what, if any, role ethnic culture played in resettlement. Four questions were formed as guidance: 1. What are the resettlement needs of minority ethnic women? 2. What role does ethnic culture play in the resettlement of minority ethnic women in the UK? 3. How do minority ethnic women access and understand resettlement services? Is this influenced by their ethnic culture? If yes, to what degree, and how? 4. How are some providers successfully engaging these women? What are the ‘challenging’ areas to work on in making services accessible and meaningful to these women?

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What Judges think about prostitution - assessing the considerations & measures employed by members of the judiciary for sentencing women who sell sex

Author: 
Helen Atkins
Published: 
2010

The aim of this research project was to assess the considerations and measures employed by the judiciary when sentencing women who sell sex — and to make recommendations about legislative and policy change that could advance the application of justice in this area. The specific objectives were: to identify and explore the range of factors that judges take into account when sentencing women who sell sex; to consider the nature and depth of judicial awareness regarding the backgrounds and circumstances of women who commit offences in relation to selling sex; to gather evidence about sentences, legislation and sentencing; and to gather evidence from researchers or practitioners who work with women who sell sex. To obtain detailed attitudinal data a qualitative approach was adopted — and the field research consisted of twelve semi-structured interviews with fourteen respondents – seven judicial respondents and seven other stakeholders.

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'A two-way process': women offenders, personality, power and partnerships

Author: 
Pip Tibbetts
Published: 
2009

This research sought to address the following questions: • How do voluntary sector agencies working with women offenders currently perceive partnership work? • What is the current and emerging National and Statutory policy with regards to working with women offenders, and how does that impact on the partnerships in Bradford District? • What barriers are there to successful partnership work? • What impact does the contracting of services have on partnership activity for women offenders? • How can partnerships sustain and develop in future to improve outcomes for women offenders? The approach to this research combined both qualitative and quantitative data.

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'Double invisibility': recalled and female and forgotten in the Criminal Justice System?

Author: 
Rosie Deedes
Published: 
2009

This research looked at the reasons that women return to custody following a breach of licence (recall). Its purpose was to find out more about why women come back to custody; to see if there were discrepancies in the reporting; and to find out whether there were certain women more at risk of being recalled than others. The research also asked whether women who had been recalled had particular difficulties resettling into the community.

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An evaluation of The Freedom Programme: a prison support programme for women who have experienced domestic violence

Author: 
Lucy Watkins
Published: 
2009

This research evaluated The Freedom Programme - a group work support programme for women in prison. Three research questions were addressed: does the programme help women to develop ways of thinking and behaving that protect themselves, their children and others from harm; is the programme of equal value for BME women, lesbian women etc. as it is for white heterosexual women; and to what extent do women value the process of being able to discuss, share and explore issues with other women? The research questions were addressed through 14 interviews with women who attended the programme, four interviews with facilitators and observation of two sessions.

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Is Attachment Theory & the concept of a 'Secure Base' relevant to supporting women during the process of resettlement? Observations from The Women's Turnaround Project, Cardiff

Author: 
Leeanne Plechowicz
Published: 
2009

The Women’s Turnaround Project (TWTP) provides female offenders and those at risk of offending with a gateway to multi-service support on a voluntary basis. Each client is allocated a key worker to facilitate support in a wide variety of areas. The purpose of this research was threefold: • To explore attachment to parents during childhood and adolescence in the clients engaging with TWTP: Was a ʻsecure baseʼ lacking in childhood/adolescence and prior to intervention? • To examine whether attachment needs are addressed by TWTP: Does the key worker and client relationship provide a ʻsecure baseʼ for female offenders during the resettlement process? If so, how is this achieved and what are the difficulties faced? • To highlight good practice and make suggestions to improve future practice for TWTP, the Probation Service and other agencies working with women during the resettlement process.

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The sustainability of gender-specific provision in the Youth Justice System

Author: 
Sue Mathews and Cath Smith
Published: 
2009

The original aim of this research was to examine the efficacy of the gender specific community based provision offered to young women by Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire youth offending services. It was also to consider whether girls responded more positively to a gender specific approach. During the preliminary preparations it became apparent that this would require research with a larger sample size. Accordingly, taking into account the limitations of the sample group, and without a matched cohort who had not attended the gender specific programmes, sustainability became the main focus of the research proposal.

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