Chaotic Lives: A Profile of Women in the Criminal Justice System in Lothian and Borders

Published: April 2009

This research, conducted on behalf of Lothian and Borders Community Justice Authority,  aimed to profile the characteristics and needs of women offenders in the Lothian and Borders CJA through quantitative and qualitative data collection.  The research made 20 recommendations, the key recommendations are outlined below:

  • There is a need for more gender-specific interventions for women offenders within both the statutory and voluntary sector, including groupwork programmes, education and employment opportunities, health and counselling services and throughcare/aftercare provision.
  • A one-stop shop approach should be investigated based on good practice in other areas of the UK.
  • The development of legislation and funding would allow a greater use of structured deferred sentences and diversion schemes, possibly both of which could be available at the pre-sentence stage, with earlier social work assessment of risks and needs being provided to procurators fiscal to supplement their marking decisions.
  • Greater consistency and coordination is required to ensure that all relevant agencies receive the necessary information at the referral stage, including the offence type and circumstances, in order to inform their assessment and subsequent intervention;
  • There needs to be a greater focus on care/welfare rather than on control/surveillance and should be reflected in policy guidelines, additional practitioner training, and more flexible breach procedures.

Authors / Editors

Prof Gill McIvor

University of Stirling

Research Themes

Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice