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The “meanings” of female staff in male therapeutic community prisons: gender as symbolism and specialism

The “meanings” of female staff in male therapeutic community prisons: gender as symbolism and specialism
The “meanings” of female staff in male therapeutic community prisons: gender as symbolism and specialism
Informed by observations of and interviews with male prisoners and female staff, this article proposes that women working in democratic therapeutic communities are credited by prisoners with two ‘meanings’: as symbolic representatives of familial and intimate nurturers and as gender specialists. The former allows for the emergence of transference relationships, which invites analysis of prior, present, and prospective attachments. The latter enables the communication and translation of ‘the woman’s perspective’, which encourages the development of empathy. Both increase appreciation, and advance reduction, of male offenders’ risk factors. Accordingly, the gender of female staff represents a significant rehabilitative resource.
therapeutic community, prisons, gender, transference, staff-prisoner relationships, rehabilitation
0265-5527
479-497
Stevens, Alisa
204c7128-dbc8-465d-ae12-875632c76cf4
Stevens, Alisa
204c7128-dbc8-465d-ae12-875632c76cf4

Stevens, Alisa (2013) The “meanings” of female staff in male therapeutic community prisons: gender as symbolism and specialism. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 52 (5), 479-497. (doi:10.1111/hojo.12039).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Informed by observations of and interviews with male prisoners and female staff, this article proposes that women working in democratic therapeutic communities are credited by prisoners with two ‘meanings’: as symbolic representatives of familial and intimate nurturers and as gender specialists. The former allows for the emergence of transference relationships, which invites analysis of prior, present, and prospective attachments. The latter enables the communication and translation of ‘the woman’s perspective’, which encourages the development of empathy. Both increase appreciation, and advance reduction, of male offenders’ risk factors. Accordingly, the gender of female staff represents a significant rehabilitative resource.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 24 September 2013
Published date: December 2013
Keywords: therapeutic community, prisons, gender, transference, staff-prisoner relationships, rehabilitation
Organisations: Social Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 348689
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/348689
ISSN: 0265-5527
PURE UUID: 6c93f465-1da4-42a1-9a45-0defcea2dab6

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Date deposited: 18 Feb 2013 13:49
Last modified: 20 Nov 2021 13:52

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Author: Alisa Stevens

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