Chair: Michelle Butler
Prison and life in the community
Author: Butler Michelle, Queen's University Belfast
Dr Cyprian Misinde, Makerere University
Title: Making Things Worse? Caregiver Imprisonment and Its Impact on Child Health, Education and Well-Being in Uganda
Much of the research examining the impact of parental imprisonment on children has been conducted in high or middle income countries, while less is known about its impact in low income countries. Many low income countries have large prison populations, high birth rates and struggle with issues such as poverty, ill-health, poor educational attainment and inequality (ICPR, 2018; United Nations, 2018; World Bank, 2018). Yet, how imprisonment may exacerbate these issues and contribute to poorer outcomes for children is under-researched. This research will begin to address this gap by examining how the imprisonment of primary caregivers (e.g. parents) in Uganda can affect child poverty, health, education and well-being. Adopting a mixed methods approach, this study used questionnaires (n=114) and interviews (n=77) with children and their non-imprisoned carers to examine the impact of primary caregiver imprisonment on children. The findings indicate that after experiencing the imprisonment of a caregiver, children are more likely to experience hunger, ill-health, a reduction in their educational attendance and performance, as well as an increase in some emotional problems. The implications of these findings for reproducing inequality and perpetuating intergenerational cycles of poverty and poor educational attainment are explored. Suggestions for how criminal justice polices could be revised to help lessen this negative impact are offered.
Keywords: Parental imprisonment; poverty; child outcomes; Uganda
Author: Bell Shane, Queen's University Belfast
Title: Doing Desistance in Neighbourhoods Affected by Conflict
Following an era marked by consistently high re-offending rates among those who have been imprisoned in the UK, there has been a growing focus on reducing recidivism in the criminal justice system. As part of this focus, attention has increasingly been shifted onto reintegration; the initial period of time when individuals return to the community. Research has repeatedly emphasised that numerous issues cause significant roadblocks to desistance during this complex and often difficult transition period. However, this research has often adopted a more individualistic lens to in attempting to understand reintegration, focusing on individual needs and deficits that often form barriers to desistance. This means that less attention has been paid to the role of broader environmental factors that may play a role in desistance during reintegration, in particular, the role of neighbourhoods. Additionally, despite the devastating impact of conflict on neighbourhoods, little research has been conducted on how a legacy of conflict in a neighbourhood may affect this process. This research therefore examines the ways in which conflict-affected neighbourhoods may shape desistance during reintegration among those leaving custody. It is argued that neighbourhood-related factors play an important role in the desistance process and that these factors must be addressed if recidivism rates are to be reduced.
Keywords: Desistance; reintegration; neighbourhoods; conflict; marginalisation
Author: Verweij Suzan, Research and Documentation Centre (WODC), Dutch Ministry of Justice and Safety
Title: Post Release Employment and Recidivism of Ex-Prisoners in the Netherlands
To reduce the recidivism of ex-prisoners, the Dutch government has set up a reintegration policy aimed at all prisoners in the Netherlands. The goal of this policy is to improve ex-prisoners’ reintegration into society. To obtain successful reintegration, prison services cooperate with municipalities. Together they facilitate ex-prisoners keeping or obtaining a valid identity card and accommodation, finding employment and a source of income, receiving adequate physical and psychological care, and they help them to identify and resolve debts. In this presentation we focus on the relationship between employment and recidivism. We address the transition from prison to employment and other income source(s) and estimate the relationship between post-release source of income and recidivism. In doing so, we aim to provide greater insight into the efficiency of the Dutch reintegration policy. A sample of ex-prisoners released from Dutch prisons in the second half of 2013 (N=11,914) was followed up to the end of 2016 with monthly measures of their source(s) of income. To answer our research questions we assess whether there is an association between employment and recidivism when controlling for pre-release characteristics, and whether this association differs between groups of offenders. In addition, the relation between the amount of time spent employed and recidivism frequency is studied.
Keywords: Ex-prisoners; reintegration; employment; recidivism
Author: Rodriguez-Menés Jorge, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Elena Larrauri, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Title: Explaining Batterers' Misconduct in Prison
There are studies that discuss the extent to which batterers are generalist criminals with general violent profiles or specialist aggressors who only abuse their partners. There are also studies on how imprisoned and non-imprisoned batterers differ in important respects, especially in their adherence to treatments, and on their consequences on recidivism. Finally, and on a different vein, we have a fairly good knowledge about which personal characteristics predict misconduct in prison among general offenders (e.g., aggressiveness, young age, prior convictions). In this paper we explore if the particular characteristics of imprisoned batterers increase the risks of misconduct in prison and if these risks are similar to those of other high-risk categories of inmates, thus contributing to a better assessment of their generalist vs. specialist profile. We study this issue by examining the records of minor and serious sanctions received by the entire population of imprisoned batterers in Catalonia from 2011 to 2017, and by comparing it to a parallel record of sanctions received by a random sample of 1,000 inmates imprisoned during the same period in the same territory for all types of crimes. Our results suggest that imprisoned batterers receive significantly fewer sanctions that other violent inmates, but that these differences disappear once the usually shorter sentences they receive for their crimes are controlled for.
Keywords: Batterers, Prison Life, Misconduct