You empower us and then what? A practitioner reflection on work with women offenders: Why this must go beyond the probation interview room
Having completed a research project with a small group of women offenders for The Griffins Society, I developed a new understanding of the importance of a range of empowerment approaches. The interventions with women who offend must incorporate both pragmatic and structural aspects alongside any confidence building support. Moreover, the limited services that exist for women require sustained funding. In fact, the community based provisions that remain accessible to women beyond their contact with the criminal justice system can make a real difference to their desistance journey.
This article considers the potential contribution of life coaching to work with offenders. It draws on a qualitative evaluation of a UK-based initiative which has been coaching offenders (exclusively female at the time of the fieldwork, but now also including men) in prison and in the community. The positive impact of coaching perceived by its recipients is set out and assessed against the theory of change which underpins coaching. The contribution to this process of engagement and the relationship between coach and client is also considered.
This research was an examination of 31 probation service cases that required some level of child protection work. The work was undertaken for a large metropolitan probation trust to establish the characteristics of child protection cases, and evaluate standards of practice. The sample was found to be predominantly low or medium risk. It was characterized by widespread domestic violence, and mothers struggling to parent on their own. Substance misuse was a very common feature, and to a lesser extent poor mental health. A great deal of impressive practice, as well as some poor practice was encountered, and the cases provide much instruction as to just what a ‘think family’ approach means. Probation officers were excluded from multi-agency work in a worrying number of cases.