OBJECTIVES: The aim of this article is to relativise the categories “offender” and “victim", which tend to reduce the context of the conduct of crimes, and thus the possible social work with incarcerated and released persons, as well as preventive structural changes. THEORETICAL BASE: Critical, cultural, and feminist criminology, along with critical social work, were employed in the study. METHODS: The data consisted of 31 semi-structured narrative interviews with released women. A qualitative content analysis was employed for the data analysis. OUTCOMES: The released women had faced a range of traumatic events and experiences in their lives that had had a significant impact on their tendencies towards criminal activities and involvements. The categories of “offender” and “victim” were largely intertwined for them. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: The reduction of imprisoned and released persons into the “offender” category limits possibilities of social work with these persons and, at the same time, supports the individualisation of the structural problems (the various inequalities, power hierarchies, and cultural stereotypes) that makes addressing these issues more difficult in terms of creating sustainable, suitable conditions for social work practice.
feminist criminology, critical criminology, cultural criminology, critical social work, incarcerated women
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