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.


 

Lost Spaces: Is the current procedure for women prisoners to gain a place in a prison MBU fair and accessible?

Author: 
Maya Sikand
Published: 
2017

The purpose of this study was to examine women prisoners’ experiences of the Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) decision-making processes. The research is based on semi-structured interviews with women prisoners and MBU staff in three different women’s prisons as well as with ex-prisoners. The study is limited to England and Wales.

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Prison as a place of safety for women with complex mental health needs

Author: 
Tamara Pattinson
Published: 
2016

The purpose of this study was to examine whether prison is being used as a ‘place of safety’ for women who have complex mental health needs and deemed in need of ‘protection’ from themselves. The research is based on interviews with police, court and prison staff. The researcher was also able to examine a number of warrants received from the courts to establish the reason for disposal into custody with specific emphasis on those cases where ‘own protection’ was the primary factor. The findings suggest that the current use of prison as a place of safety for women with complex heath needs is unworkable, flawed and potentially dangerous and not in the best interests of the women offenders and prison staff.

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Probation officers' accounts of practice with women convicted of intimate partner violence (IPV) towards men

Author: 
Gareth Hole
Published: 
2016

Comparatively little research has been conducted about the motivations and risk factors associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrated by women when contrasted to that of men. Few studies have investigated the effectiveness of interventions delivered to women convicted for IPV and virtually nothing is known about the experiences of probation officers working in this field. This study arose from observations I made working as a Male Safety Officer for the probation service, a role which offered support to men whose partners were convicted for offences of IPV towards them: very few probation officers made referrals and when they did, the men were frequently described as the ‘real’ or ‘primary’ perpetrator. This exploratory study investigates the reasons for this, through interviews with probation officers’ about their attitudes towards women convicted of IPV and how these impacted their work; it reveals insights about how participants dealt with two issues with which they were frequently confronted: women who reported perpetrating offences within the context of experiencing violence from partners and the high number who referred to experiences of trauma and psychological disturbance.

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Time after Time: A study of women's transitions from custody

Author: 
Jean O'Neill
Published: 
2016

This study stems from the author’s work as a manager with the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI), with particular responsibility for the INSPIRE Women’s Project. The research explores the transition of women from prison into the community through the women’s own accounts — within the context of Northern Ireland — and tests the view that, if women can sustain periods in the community following release beyond twelve weeks, the likelihood of successful re-integration is improved. The research used a longitudinal qualitative methodology centered on in-depth, life history interviews with women pre- and post-custody.

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Missing Voices: Why women engage with, or withdraw from, community sentences

Author: 
Sue Jordan
Published: 
2013

Baroness Corston noted the ‘high rate’ of women in custody for breach and Hedderman calculated that a large proportion of the 60% of women imprisoned under the umbrella of ‘other offences’, will be there for breaching community sentences. Despite the interest in the subject, there appears to be little available research. This project was therefore undertaken to investigate the following issues: • What are the main barriers to women engaging with community orders and are there clear patterns that are not recognised by contemporary practice? • Are the aims of community orders understood and/or shared by the women involved? • Does the rigidity of structure inherent in these orders affect women differently? The research is based on interviews with women serving sentences for breach of community orders (including suspended sentence orders) in HMP New Hall and the Together Women Project in Hull. Whilst this research is small-scale in scope, it is hoped that the findings will inspire more extensive research in the future.

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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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A woman's place? Identifying the needs of female drug users and responses in drug treatment policy and practice

Author: 
Patricia Trehan
Published: 
2008

The approach to this research is qualitative. The original purpose of the research was to attempt to establish why some women engage well with services and achieve their care-plan goals, whilst many others recognise that they need intervention and treatment, but refuse to engage with it. However, two major factors emerged during the interview phase, and these re-directed the research to address the following questions: • What are the real underlying causes of female drug use? and • Does the treatment system recognise them and make adequate provision for women?

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Exploring provisions for women in approved premises

Author: 
Gilliam McLeish
Published: 
2005

This study explores female need and provision within Approved Premises settings, primarily the particular needs of female residents/offenders including bailees, probationers and licensees. The study examines the structure of support to help women regain control of their lives, to empower them to progress to the next stage, ie. semi independent/independent living. It aims to highlight the strengths, weaknesses and, effectiveness of regimes in reducing offending for women; and to identify any gaps which exist. NB. The term Approved Premises refers to (Home Office) defined standards of practice.

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Last Chance: older women through the Criminal Justice System

Author: 
Carlie Newman
Published: 
2005

This research project focusses on older women in the criminal justice system and aimed to: • ascertain what proportion of older women offenders (50+) make up the growing prison population; • examine community sentences and other punishments given as an alternative to custody, for this group; • provide a focus on the rehabilitation and resettlement of older women on their release from prison, especially those with drug and alcohol problems; • examine the role of outside agencies in the resettlement of older women offenders and to determine their effectiveness. The research is based on interviews with offenders, magistrates, judges, justices’ clerks, probation officers, representatives of voluntary organisations, a deputy prison governor and government ministers.

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'What Works' with women who offend: A service user's perspective. Exploring the synthesis between what women want and what women get

Author: 
Rebecca Clarke
Published: 
2004

The aim of this project was to explore the relationship between what women in the criminal justice system want and need to desist from further offending, and what criminal justice and other associated agencies provide. A review of the literature exploring these issues, together with the information generated from the women’s accounts of their experiences, form the evidence contained in the full report.

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Supporting People: Good news for women ex-prisoners?

Author: 
Sally Malin
Published: 
2004

The importance of housing in the resettlement of women ex-offenders is well established. Supporting People (SP) is a UK government programme which took effect in April 2003, bringing together at local authority level the main partners of housing, health, social services and probation to plan strategically and commission services which are cost effective, reliable, transparent and needs-led. This research project carried out between October 2003 and December 2004 sought, through interviews and document review, to explore the early impact of SP at both national and local levels on planning and provision for women ex-offenders. A comparative perspective was secured by review of two community based ex-offender initiatives outside the UK.

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An exploration of the health and health care needs of female offenders

Author: 
Jane Sheen
Published: 
2002

This study was prompted by a desire to explore in more depth the health and health care needs of current and resettling female offenders — at a time when prisoner health needs and health care requirements were to be moved from the prison service into the mainstream NHS.

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