Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The Cycle of Female Prisoner (Re)Integration: Pathways, criminal justice and imprisonment

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posted on 2021-11-14, 09:53 authored by Bentley, Hannah

With increasing rates of female imprisonment, and female prisoner re-imprisonment rates of 33% for first time prisoners and 48% for recidivist prisoners within four years, women’s experiences of (re)integration are in need of examination. Issues of abuse, addiction, economic, social and political deprivation and poor education are not only seen to underpin women’s pathways into crime, but also the treatment of female offenders within a system that has redefined their welfare needs as risks. Using a feminist, qualitative methodology that provides often unheard women with a voice, semi-structured interviews were conducted with female ex-prisoners and those who work with women once released from prison. Interviews examined women’s experiences of release and the areas that contribute to successful or unsuccessful (re)integration. Findings reveal that support networks, release conditions, employment, accommodation and treatment services are key factors that either help or hinder women’s (re)integration. Consistent with literature on women’s (re)integration, interviews further revealed that female offender pathways are not addressed prior to, during, or after release from prison. To address such problems, this thesis argues that collaborative, holistic, gender-specific programmes, that are tailored to meet women’s daily needs and experiences, are required both within the community and prisons.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Stanley, Elizabeth