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Solving her problems? Beyond the seductive appeal of specialist problem-solving courts for women offenders in England and Wales

Birkett, Gemma ORCID: 0000-0001-9797-2524 (2019). Solving her problems? Beyond the seductive appeal of specialist problem-solving courts for women offenders in England and Wales. Journal of Social Policy, doi: doi.org/10.1017/S0047279419000989

Abstract

At the nexus of the social and penal policy fields, problem-solving justice promises to punish offenders while working to address the complex issues that drive their law-breaking behaviour. Appealing to the left and right due to its dual focus on pragmatism and welfarism, the concept has floated in and out of political fashion for the past two decades. Recent years have heralded a renewed political interest in the approach, closely aligned to the Conservative government’s commitment to ‘transforming justice’. With a focus on empowerment and collaboration, the problem-solving model has much to offer women offenders in particular. Drawing on data from a large-scale study into the sentencing and punishment of women under the new probation arrangements, this article reveals a divergence of views on gender-specific courts among sentencers, probation officers and third sector workers. Moral concerns about up-tariffing sit alongside the practical barriers of government bureaucracy and hindering legislation. With data pertaining to effectiveness (rather than potential) still required, this article argues that specialist problem-solving courts for women present a risky strategy, however seductive their promise.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published in a revised form in Journal of Social Policy Journal of Social Policy. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © the authors.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
K Law > KD England and Wales
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/23104
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