Counselling Female Offenders and Victims

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By Katherine Van Wormer.
Springer Publishing
ISBN 0826113958

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Written from a feminist perspective by an author with
considerable knowledge and experience of the North American
criminal justice systems and particularly of their custodial
services, this book promotes a “restorative strengths” approach to
engaging with the female offender, writes Charlie Beaumont.

This approach requires that the victimisation of women by men
and a male-controlled justice system and society must be
acknowledged and worked through in individual cases. Successful
outcomes may be achieved by appealing to, and developing the
strengths of women (akin to motivational interviewing), which will
enable them to make good for their offending.

However, the emphasis of this book is too much on the paucity
and irrelevance of what prison can provide. A more helpful approach
would have been to explore in detail the reasons for the success of
community-based programmes, using the restorative strengths
approach, so that the reader could actually take something from the
book and test it in practice.

Charlie Beaumont, Youth Justice Board.

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