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Title: The long-term impact of short periods of imprisonment on mothers
Author: Masson, Isla MacMarquis
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 1690
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This research examines how even an initial short period in prison negatively impacts mothers and their children. It involves a series of semi-structured interviews with 16 mothers during and post-custody; looking at the different ways in which multiple aspects of their lives are negatively affected for longer periods than their incarceration. It is argued that prison often increases the social disadvantages that many of the women encounter on a day-to-day basis. Based on this research it is suggested that the morally significant harms of prison need to be considered at the time of sentencing. Incarceration is not just about a temporary loss of liberty, even short terms in prison have longer multi-dimensional consequences. The thesis will begin by looking at the use of remand for women as well as examining the sentencing rationales for the use of short sentences. It will explore the problems with these forms of punishment, particularly for non-violent, and often vulnerable, women. It will be argued that these women experience multiple pains of incarceration, often compounded by the short period in which they are imprisoned. It will be suggested that their feelings of injustice may affect whether they are able to embrace any opportunities in prison and address feelings of guilt. The thesis will also examine these mothers’ experiences post-custody, describing which problems are on-going, which are resolved and what new unexpected problems arise. Given that they are mothers, their understanding of the harm of the separation to their children will also be explored. It will be concluded that the punishment should be balanced against the rights of mothers and their children. As such the use of short sentences for women should be significantly reduced, however if they continue to be used there need to be a series of changes to minimise the harms caused to this group.
Supervisor: Player, Elaine Beryl Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available