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Women and Criminal JusticeFrom the Corston Report to Transforming Rehabilitation$
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Jo Brayford and John Deering

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447319306

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447319306.001.0001

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‘Serious therapy’ for serious female offenders: the democratic therapeutic community at HMP Send

‘Serious therapy’ for serious female offenders: the democratic therapeutic community at HMP Send

Chapter:
(p.173) Ten ‘Serious therapy’ for serious female offenders: the democratic therapeutic community at HMP Send
Source:
Women and Criminal Justice
Author(s):

Alisa Stevens

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447319306.003.0010

For the minority of female prisoners who are serving long sentences for serious offences, HMP Send provides an important, if underappreciated, treatment facility: the democratic therapeutic community (TC). A TC offers a supportive, collaborative environment within which to participate in psychodynamically-informed group psychotherapy. Drawing upon the author’s ethnographic and phenomenological research at Send TC, and illustrated by quotations from semi-structured interviews with residents (as prisoners in TCs are called), this chapter explores the experience of rehabilitation at Send TC. It highlights the gendered importance of the TC’s focus on early trauma, attachment deficits, and intimate relationships, and argues that immersion in the TC regime beneficially contributes towards a desistance-focused reconceptualization of the self. Greater recourse to ‘serious therapy’ would help more serious female offenders to lead constructive and happy lives after prison.

Keywords:   prison, therapeutic community, gendered criminogenic needs, desistance, relationships, trauma, self-esteem, identity

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