IN-CJ Newsdesk 2024: Women in Criminal Justice – Addressing Unique Challenges

IN-CJ Newsdesk 2024: Women in Criminal Justice – Addressing Unique Challenges

In this discussion, Sara Ciucci , Roz Morrison and Julie Eden-Barnard discuss the important topic of women in the criminal justice system. This conversation, part of the Newsdesk 2024 initiative by the International Network for Criminal Justice (IN-CJ), features Sara moderating a panel with Roz and Julie, both senior lecturers at De Montfort University.

The discussion focuses on the distinct experiences and challenges faced by women within the criminal justice system, both as offenders and as professionals. Roz and Julie draw on their backgrounds in probation and academia to highlight the differences between male and female experiences in this field. They emphasise the need for a gender-responsive and trauma-informed approach, acknowledging that women’s pathways into and out of offending are often influenced by relational trauma and other gender-specific factors.

One main concern is the ongoing gap in implementing research findings to create more supportive environments for women. The panellists discuss the benefits of female-only programmes, which provide safe spaces for relational repair and mutual support among women.

Additionally, the conversation addresses the barriers women face in advancing their careers within criminal justice organisations. Morrison and Eden-Barnard note that systemic changes are needed to accommodate women’s familial and caregiving responsibilities, which often hinder their professional progression.

The discussion concludes with a call for all criminal justice professionals to be aware of and respond to gender-specific issues. By fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment, the system can better meet the needs of women, both those involved in the criminal justice process and those working within it.

This dialogue highlights the current state of women in criminal justice and underscores the importance of continued research and practical application of gender-responsive practices to create a more equitable system.

Rob Watson

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