By Jenni Murray, Nikki Jeffcote, Tessa Watson
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Extra resources for Working Therapeutically With Women in Secure Mental Health Settings (Forensic Focus, 27)
Sentencers are also reluctant to impose fines on women, resulting in an increase in the use of community penalties, which render women vulnerable to imprisonment at an earlier stage (Worrall 2000). WOMEN AND OFFENDING 47 THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND ATTITUDES TO WOMEN’S OFFENDING Notwithstanding these increases in the use of custody, the evidence for differential attitudes towards men and women within the criminal justice system portrays a complex picture. It has often been suggested that women are treated more leniently than men.
Women offenders with severe personality disorders will continue to receive lengthy custodial sentences. Many women resent the stigma attached to a psychiatric disposal, preferring to serve a prison sentence. There is an urgent need to develop an appropriate female remand facility and to support the therapeutic community at HMP Winchester. More generally, early intervention and accessible and appropriate mental healthcare is needed in prisons. Expansion of court diversion schemes would expedite admission to hospital for offenders who are acutely ill and/or at risk of suicide, but the principal reason for difficulties in transfer from prison remains the shortage of secure psychiatric beds (Reed 2003).
They may be achieved in different ways for men and for women, but can stand as common principles in all services. They also link us to all our patients, as they link our patients to us and to each other. LAST THOUGHTS Work on attachment shows that fear and anxiety prevent personal development, growth and exploration. In women’s services, levels of anxiety are often very high among both staff and patients and there are no easy solutions. We believe that shared attention to the relational context of the work offers the most hope of bringing psychological containment and 30 WORKING THERAPEUTICALLY WITH WOMEN IN SECURE MENTAL HEALTH SETTINGS security to everyone involved.