Posted on May 16, 2013
Sex offenders – Do probation approved premises perpetuate the problem [?]?
"Carla Reeves is a Principal Lecturer and Subject Leader in Criminology. Here, following the conviction of seven men in Oxfordshire for sexual exploitation, rape and trafficking of young girls, she talks about her research into sex offenders forming detrimental relationships [sic] with other sex offenders in probation approved premises.
For this work I spent two years talking to people who lived and worked in a probation hostel and observing life within it."
"I focussed on those with convictions for sexual offences and saw that the resident ex-prisoners formed themselves into groups based on their offence (even though this was mean to be unknown to the residents) and within those groups they supported each other’s minimisations of their offending or other risky behaviours, as well as undermining the work of the agencies working with them [really, how?].
These groups were powerful in their influence over the members of the group as they helped to create a social identity of ‘sex offender’ which reinforced the individual’s personal identity of this. An identity that was not only formed through their offences, but also through the ritualised labelling process of the being convicted and sentenced, imprisoned and then managed through release.
It is important to realise that these hostels reflect the culture of prison [well, not quite] where, once someone is identified as a sex offender (or even suspected of this) they are very low status in the prison hierarchy and are frequently subjected to bullying, assaults and other victimisation which necessitates them being placed in sections designed to hold vulnerable prisoners.
This segregation in prison is maintained through the grouping in the hostel and through the way they are treated and managed by staff so that any attempts to reject this label and identity are very difficult to achieve. Without this ‘moving on’ by the prisoner it is difficult to work with them to support their desistance from crime."