Rehabilitating Criminal Selves: Gendered Strategies in Community Corrections

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-255
Number of pages25
JournalGender and Society
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Keywords

  • community corrections
  • corrections
  • gender
  • rehabilitation
  • subjectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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