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Dealing with Welfare ConditionalityImplementation and Effects$
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Peter Dwyer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781447341826

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447341826.001.0001

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Punishment, powerlessness and bounded agency: exploring the role of welfare conditionality with ‘at risk’ women attempting to live ‘a good life’

Punishment, powerlessness and bounded agency: exploring the role of welfare conditionality with ‘at risk’ women attempting to live ‘a good life’

Chapter:
(p.41) Three Punishment, powerlessness and bounded agency: exploring the role of welfare conditionality with ‘at risk’ women attempting to live ‘a good life’
Source:
Dealing with Welfare Conditionality
Author(s):

Larissa Povey

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447341826.003.0003

This chapter explores the lived experiences of women at the penal-welfare nexus, a space where social policy and penal policy overlap. Drawing on new empirical data from qualitative interviews with 24 women who have been subject to criminal justice supervision and interventions in the community and who are in receipt of social assistance benefits, it explores their attempts to move away from the social margins and move closer to the labour market. It therefore examines how UK social institutions, and in particular a welfare system characterised by increasing conditionality, impact on women engaged in community-based services which aim to divert them from prison and reduce recidivism. In doing so, it foregrounds the context of gendered precariousness which criminalized women inhabit at the penal-welfare nexus. This author argues that the problem for this group is not so much the behaviour change agenda and sanctions that underpin the UK’s increasingly conditional social security system; many make attempts to live a 'good life', and the experience of sanctioning is low – rather, for women experiencing advanced marginality, it is the dearth of support available to help them reach their goals.

Keywords:   Genderresponsive justice, penalwelfare nexus, risksneeds: conflation of, vulnerable mothers, forced removal of children from, marginalisation, conditionality

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