Imagining Penal Policy for women. The case for Women’s Community Services.

Polly Radcliffe, Gillian Hunter

Research output: Other contribution


The Women’s Community Services (WCSs) established in 2009 in England and Wales were based on the model of one-stop-shop, women-only provision endorsed by the 2007 Corston report. In this paper we discuss the development of WCSs as part of a governmental/voluntary sector initiative that was arguably an attempt to re-imagine penal policy for women offenders in the community, and explore themes emerging from interviews carried out with 30 women attending six WCSs between April 2011–2012. We argue that WCSs have filled a gap in provision for low risk women offenders by providing a range of social capital opportunities that are not available in mainstream, mixed-gender community punishment provision. We highlight the gendered processes of desistance; the understanding of which, we argue, is vital in making provision for women offenders in the new contracting landscape
Original languageEnglish
Typeonline publication
Media of outputonline Howard League for Penal Reform Website
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2014


  • women offenders
  • criminal justice


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