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Good practice in women’s prisons: A literature review

Technical and Background Paper no. 41

Dr Lorana Bartels, Antonette Gaffney
ISBN 978 1 921532 75 7 ISSN 1836-2052
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, February 2011

Abstract

Good prison practices are essential for the wellbeing of prisoners and the wider community. Not only do they provide assistance to one of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups within society, but they also benefit the wider community by providing adequate support and services to a group of people who will ultimately return to the community. The purposes of incarceration not only include retribution, punishment, deterrence and incapacitation, but also rehabilitation. In order for a prison to achieve this, it is essential to have prison practice models that support reintegration, facilitate personal development and reduce recidivism rates.

In this paper, the literature concerning examples of good practice in women’s prison systems in Australia is reviewed. Key international developments are also considered, although it is acknowledged that the potential for transfer of such models may at times be limited.