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Lois Verbrugge, Disability Experience & Measurement

Jessica Wyse photo

Rehabilitating Criminal Selves Gendered Strategies in Community Corrections

Publication Abstract

Wyse, Jessica. 2013. "Rehabilitating Criminal Selves Gendered Strategies in Community Corrections." Gender & Society, 27(2): 231-255.

As the community corrections system has moved away from a focus on rehabilitation, it has been suggested that criminal offenders are no longer understood psychologically, but rather as rational actors for whom criminality is a choice. Rehabilitative efforts thus aim to guide these choices. Utilizing mixed methodology that draws on observational, interview, and case note data collected within the probation/parole system of a western U.S. state, I suggest that both officers' conceptualizations of the criminal self and the rehabilitative strategies they use are gendered. I find that officers view the male criminal self as flawed or underdeveloped and the female as permeable and amorphous, that is, lacking firm boundaries. In response to these constructions, officers aim to rehabilitate men largely by encouraging economic roles and responsibilities, while for women, rehabilitation aims to solidify boundaries: discouraging relationship formation and containing emotions. The differences identified point to ways in which gendered concepts of the criminal self contribute to gender disparities in contemporary supervision.

DOI:10.1177/0891243212470509 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC3876924. (Pub Med Central)

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