Lessons About Female Ex-offender Employment Support From a European Neighbour: Gender-responsive Multiagency Work Programmes and the use of Wage Subsidy Schemes in Sweden

Linnéa A. M. Österman


With over a decade having passed since the publication of the landmark Corston Report (Corston, 2007), and a new governmental Female Offender Strategy having been launched in the summer of 2018 (Ministry of Justice, 2018), it is an apt time to look forward and think both critically and creatively about future directions for women, criminal justice and reintegration. By turning the criminological gaze to a European neighbour – one that has often been described in terms of an ‘exceptional’ penal landscape – this brief article offers a case study exploration of the use of gender-responsive multiagency work programmes and wage subsidy schemes to support female ex-offenders into meaningful employment in Sweden. Following some introductory reflective thoughts on the role of gender in the ex-offender labour market entry puzzle, the structure and core ingredients of a successful multiagency work programme in Sweden will be detailed [1], drawing on qualitative interview data with both practitioners and female participants. Attention will then be directed to the use of wage subsidy schemes to support female reintegration through employment. The article will be concluded with a call for a shift in thinking towards long-term socio-economic investments in what are described as ‘structural desistance tools’, emphasising the lasting value of finding creative solutions to encourage inclusive citizenship processes that give women exiting criminal justice a fairer chance of successful reintegration.

[1]To ensure anonymity in the data, the programme will not be referred to by name.

The role of employment in the female desistance process

Desistance has of late received growing interest within criminology (Bottoms et al., 2004), with the field recently having matured to enable the pursuit of comparative perspectives across diverse economic and cultural contexts (Shapland et al., 2016). The link between employment and a successful route out of crime has received considerable attention within this area. While some authors have linked employment to structural role changes in the life-course (Laub and Sampson, 1993; 2003), others have looked at the practical role of employment support in enabling desistance in, for example, probation work (Farrall, 2002; Farrall and Caverly, 2006). Gender-specific literature in this area is, however, minimal. The limited studies that exist are also inconclusive; whereas some researchers suggest that job stability is not strongly related to female desistance (Giordano et al., 2002), others argue that employment plays a central role in women’s post-release identity work and goals (Opsal, 2012; Leverentz, 2014). Recognising these divisive standpoints, opening up opportunities for sustained economic survival is, however, generally accepted in the literature to be an essential factor for a successful female desistance process (Eaton, 1993; McIvor et al., 2009; Hannah-Moffat and Innocente, 2013; Matthews et al., 2014).

Shedding new light on the neglected area of labour involvement for female ex-offenders, a recent report by the Prison Reform Trust (2016) showed that women’s employment situation is significantly worse compared with that of their male counterparts; women are less likely to have been in employment before prison or to have a job to go to following release (fewer than 10 per cent). Evidence from other Anglophone settings, such as the USA, indicates that this disadvantage of women in employment and wage contexts is applicable internationally (Leverentz, 2014). The Prison Reform Trust report also showed that having a job is closely linked to other factors that have been proven to enable desistance for women, such as stable accommodation and moving away from abusive relationships, with employment overall suggested to represent the ‘final stage in a woman’s recovery from a life that involved offending’ (Prison Reform Trust, 2016:6).

Gendered barriers to employment?

A history of criminality can act as an impediment for all individuals to gain employment (Mason, 2010). However, there are additional barriers linked to gender that are likely to make employment re-entry more challenging for women who have been involved with the criminal justice system. For example, we know that female offenders are generally more disadvantaged and vulnerable compared with their male counterparts (McIvor et al., 2009; Covington, 2012; Carlton and Baldry, 2013), including higher levels of poor mental health and more widespread prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse (Baird, 2003; Malloch, 2003; Belknap and Holsinger, 2006). Women in the criminal justice system are in addition more likely than men to have no qualifications, with learning disabilities being more common for female than male offenders (Corston, 2007). The combination of heightened levels of complexity and disadvantage in women’s lives, then, is likely to act as an additional barrier to accessing employment and training (Prison Reform Trust, 2016).

There may also be wider structural factors that produce additional barriers to female ex-offenders’ employment, such as gendered divisions of labour. For example, care work is a sector dominated by female labour (ONS, 2013). However, the care industry is also a sector where a criminal record is a particularly marked barrier. Another key sector dominated by female labour is hospitality (ONS, 2013), though employment in this industry often requires working hours that are incompatible with childcare responsibilities. Indeed, data suggests that, globally, female offenders not only are commonly unemployed and have low levels of education, but also have dependent children (Penal Reform International, 2012). These additional barriers to employment can, drawing on findings from previous research into female desistance across different penal cultures, be especially strongly felt by women in countries with relatively low availability of affordable childcare support, such as England and Wales (Österman, 2018).

Recognising the particular challenges women are likely to encounter when attempting to make a successful re-entry into employment, the Prison Reform Trust (2016:18) specifically recommends that ‘the government should implement a strategy to increase employment opportunities and programmes for women with criminal convictions’, which ‘should include employer incentives’. This article aims to offer some food for thought regarding what such opportunities and incentives may look like.

Learning about female ex-offender support in Sweden

This article draws on a selection of data that was originally collected for my doctoral research project, in which I comparatively explored the qualitative experience of female ex-offenders with repeated involvement with the criminal justice system in Sweden and England. I found that employment typically played a prominent role in the women’s subjective understanding of their route out of crime and criminal justice. However, I also found that, in line with broader state interventionist processes in the Swedish system (Tham, 2001), Sweden presented a different opportunity structure in terms of supporting women into legitimate employment.

The case study material that forms the foundation of this article primarily draws on four semi-structured interviews collected with Swedish practitioners working with supporting women, with previous or current experiences of criminal justice, into employment in Sweden.[1] Additionally, examples of qualitative data collected from women who had experience of participating in the work programme discussed are provided. Through the combination of this data, the aim is to provide an insight into the workings of a successful gender-responsive work programme in a neighbouring European setting. This may go some way towards supporting the cross-national criminological endeavour to, whilst not necessarily directly promoting policy transfer, at least ‘stretch our imagination about what is possible’ (Nelken, 2010:23).

Holistic multiagency work programmes targeting learning and consequential thinking

In recognition of the important role of employment and education for successful reintegration, Sweden has implemented statutory multiagency work programmes, involving cooperation between local municipalities, probation and job centres, to support ex-offenders’ reintegration into the mainstream labour market (Nordén et al., 2013). These programmes operate in a large number of regions across Sweden for men, and in a smaller number of regions for women.[2] The main objective of the scheme is for women to find and maintain employment, or, alternatively, to enter an educational programme. The programme has recently been independently evaluated, concluding that overall it produces significant socio-economic benefits, which start to give a monetary return to the public purse after six months (PayOff, 2014).

The course starts with a three-week scheduled guidance programme. Although the main themes are centred on practical employment factors, such as CV-writing and interview practice, the course also includes many other elements; for example, diet and wellbeing, healthy relationships and social aspects of working in a team. Participants get a chance to visit different employers during the course to get a sense of what different employment environments look and feel like, and the programme also includes social and leisure activities. Practitioners emphasise that these components are a significant part of the overall learning process:

It is really important that they get a chance to try different leisure activities, so you might get stuck on something, or at least that you notice that it is not so scary to do things you have not done before … Because that’s also a part of it, if you are to break with the old, then you do need to replace it with something (PR:S4).

Indeed, finding new ways to ‘keep busy’, and therefore avoid boredom, is an important part of learning to live a ‘straight’ life (Leverentz, 2014; Österman, 2018). This is especially important when the new routine starts to become normalised. As we know from previous studies, female ex-offenders’ motivation for upholding work, and its value for sustaining identity can – especially if situated in the structural context of low-wage employment – start to be subjectively questioned as the benefits and novelty wane over time (Opsal, 2012; Leverentz, 2014). This is why factors such as the quality and suitability of employment form a key focus in the programme – a point which is discussed further below.

A core underlying philosophy of the programme is that it is forward-looking and strength-focussed, so there is minimal focus, beyond the initial assessment stage,[3] on the women’s past. This is in line with recent calls to move away from so-called ‘deficit’ models, and towards more ‘strength-based’ reintegration work, in the Anglophone desistance literature (see, for example, Burnett and Maruna, 2006). An additional important aspect of the programme is how staff view their roles and the climate they produce. More specifically, they are not there to discipline or govern, but rather – consistent with ‘desistance-focussed probation practices’ (McNeill, 2016:271) – to actively engage with participants, build trust and loyalty, and allow a positive space for individuals to develop and learn. The work is much more focussed and personal than traditional employment support, and all of these factors are situated as being key to the success of the programme:

I think a big part of it is that we meet a lot, and that they’re here for a long time. ... So we get to know each other pretty well, and it develops into, well we build a meeting place and a climate that enables people to talk and open up ... But then also that we see individuals as competent and capable … Some are so accustomed to being pushed around, it’s a bit like ‘this is what’s good for you’, instead of asking ‘what do you think is good for you?’ So it’s about treating people like adults … And I think that many are unfamiliar with that ... It’s really important to treat people as responsible competent people, instead of thinking ‘she can’t be trusted’ ... Because then that will become a mutual sentiment. (PR:S7)

Following the initial course, the women are supported to find work-experience positions. This is typically facilitated via existing links to a range of employers, with the programme staff acting as an intermediary contact. The work-experience positions can be of various lengths, and if a position is a good match, a contract will be negotiated on a wage subsidy scheme basis. If it is not a match, however, the woman returns to the programme, reflects on the reasons the position did not work out together with staff, and gets the chance to further develop her skills and abilities. She is then supported to search for a new position. Again in line with ‘desistance-focused practices’ (McNeill, 2016), the practitioners act as advocates and supporters for the women to access opportunities for change. Moreover, to find a quality job opportunity that is likely to work out long-term is a priority, as it is recognised that ‘meaningful’ and satisfactory employment is more closely associated with desistance than low-quality employment (Uggen, 1999).

During the early stages of the programme, the vast majority of the women receive income support, typically in the form of ‘activity support’. It is a requirement that participants learn to budget some of their income, so, for example, the women need to be able to pay for their own transport to get to the programme centre, and to buy credit on their phone so they are able to make a phone call if running late. This is all part of the programme’s plan to assist with the development of working routines and meeting employer expectations.

The role of gender-specificity in service delivery

The programme is gender-specific, which is situated as an important part of the service delivery. This is in clear symmetry with recent developments in criminal justice in England and Wales, where it is now recognised that, due to entering the system with different needs and circumstances, gender-specific rather than generic support is more effective in working with women in criminal justice (Clinks, 2014; Scott and McManus, 2016; Ministry of Justice, 2018). Recognising the gendered nature of crime and victimisation, all of the practitioners felt strongly that having separate groups for men and women was essential, as it allowed the women to work in a safe space:

For women it’s a lot more harmful [to be in mixed groups], on the basis that they get more abused in these networks and these relationships … and they become more objectified as well ... The girls are so used to being treated like that … And then also because on the course we bring up these questions around violence in intimate relationships ... I won’t say 100 per cent, but almost, when you talk about it then it’s almost all of the women who have experienced violence, to various extents. (PR:S7)

Violence and objectification are highly normalised by the female participants. A core part of the gendered emphasis in the course, therefore, includes definitions of violence and discussions of how to set boundaries, as it is acknowledged that living in and around fear and violence will inevitably be a barrier to moving on. Visits to the Swedish equivalent of Women’s Aid in the local area make up a core part of the gender-specific programme structure.

Moreover, it is recognised that the women’s experiences of the programme will inevitably be shaped by their experiences of how gender is performed in offending and drug-using settings, with gender roles understood to be more ‘cemented in the criminal world’ (PR:S5). There was a consensus among practitioners that when the women come into the programme they are often more broken and stigmatised, with significantly lower confidence levels, than their male counterparts. The lived experience of gender inequality on the ‘criminal scene’ in turn has an impact on the women’s life choices and priorities. Practitioners on the programme expressed a clear view that the women they work with very often spend the majority of their time ensuring the wellbeing of others, such as partners or family members, rather than prioritising their own needs. This is coherent with what we know from international research about gendered expectations of female ex-offenders; that is, that women are often expected, both by themselves and by others around them, to be caregivers in their families and communities (Leverentz, 2014). The gendered nature of caretaking thus forms an additional barrier to women’s successful reintegration. Due to a combination of these aspects of lived reality, it may take women longer to get into employment, and it is important to offer a programme structure that allows for that. As noted by one practitioner:

They have a lot more going on around them, and the relationship to children, or if someone is in a bad place, or a child starts using drugs or such, then it occupies their world much more. The men can somehow just run their own race and get out to work. Women may take a bit longer because of that. And it’s important that they are allowed that time as well, because there’s no real way around it, while at the same time you work on learning to focus on yourself. It’s a lot about building confidence … During the course we notice how this starts to change, we notice a difference quite clearly, that they start to see that they’ve done something, and that someone believes in them as well (PR:S5)

Confidence-building was identified as an important gender-specific aspect of the programme delivery, specifically working towards strengthening the women as individuals.

First-hand perspectives on valuable programme ingredients

There are numerous expressions of the positive subjective experience of participation in this scheme, both by the women participating and by the practitioners delivering it. It is important to understand how and what produces these positive impacts. From practitioners’ viewpoints, there are a number of factors that make the scheme especially successful, with the major themes being that it is well resourced (in terms of both staff and funds), that it is holistic (recognising that women are often facing multiple needs and challenges) and that it is forward-looking. Moreover, understanding desistance as a process is identified as an important element of the programme. The door remains open, and ‘it will take the time it takes’ (PR:S1). In line with taking ‘a long view’ of female re-entry (Leverentz, 2014), practitioners note that if the women are pushed through too quickly – if they are rushed towards change at a pace they cannot handle – they are much less likely to succeed. A major aim of the setting is also to reduce the distance between the staff and participants; so, for example, they always eat together ‘so that they see that we are not so different, and that we don’t want to exercise control over them’ (PR:S5). Offering a trusting, non-judgemental, equal and safe space is viewed to be essential to the success of the programme: ‘it’s so frigging important that they can trust you … and that you really do what you say you will do, that they actually can be offered a sense of security’ (PR:S1).

These factors that were identified as especially key to the success of the programme by the practitioners were echoed by the women participating. Indeed, the way the women subjectively felt treated was a dominant beneficial theme in the data, with significant effects on self-worth. As exemplified by ‘Angel’:

I meet these three amazing people [staff at work programme], and straight away when I got here I was just like ‘wha’, such fucking warmth! … You don’t come here and feel you have to be something else ... You can just be yourself. Like ‘this is me’ and like ‘this is my CV, and no it doesn’t look that flipping good!’ you know? But then when they help you to pick up on lots of stuff, I can start to see maybe I’ve actually done some stuff, cos’ you always think you’ve got nothing to show for yourself ... And they pick up on all the good sides as well, yeah sure you can sit and talk about seriously shit too but they’re not like ‘aaaaaa, oooooh, poor you’, but they like push you properly as well, so that’s really positive. (‘Angel’)

‘Angel’ highlights the qualitative meaning of the nature of the support, emphasising the value of being met with ‘warmth’, set in a context where you can be honest about who you are, and in turn being offered support to start to build a sense of ability and self-worth. What is more, the importance of being ‘pushed’ and given responsibility comes through strongly. This is about preparing the women for ‘real’ life, as well as opening up choices and taking ownership of their own path. ‘Mia’ provides another example of the enabling value of this approach:

When I came here and I was told that there’s things like debt restructuring programmes and that you have study options, I mean it was like a smorgasbord and I became aware of the fact that I could do different things, like I got the chance to sit and listen, and I was entitled to have opinions and contribute with ideas and questions as well. No one’s ever offered me that before ... I just got so much information that one needs to survive … I was offered so many choices, like ‘you can do like this or like this or like this’. So you had to really think about what you yourself wanted and then you could start to pick away at that together. (‘Mia’)

The multi-layered value of holistic support comes through strongly in Mia’s narrative. Learning about choices, and making these more accessible, is set a context in which the women are encouraged to start to think critically and actively about those options. In turn, the fact that the women are trusted to make decisions and explore options is an empowering, and new, experience for many.

The use of wage subsidy schemes to support employment re-entry

The outlined multiagency work programme goes hand in hand with financial initiatives to support the women back into employment. Based on active labour market policies, individuals who are deemed to face additional challenges of getting into the labour market in Sweden may be assisted into employment through wage subsidy schemes (Arbetsförmedlingen, 2016). In practice, this means that the state will provide a contribution to an employer over an agreed period of time, gradually reducing the contribution over a typical maximum of four years. This financial initiative thus encourages employers to take on staff who may represent a higher ‘risk’ in one way or another, while at the same time enables the employer to pay a decent wage to the individual in question. Contributions to employers vary in percentages, but they can, on this particular scheme, start from as high as 75 per cent of total employment costs (PR:S1). There have, of course, been examples of wage subsidy schemes being implemented in the UK context, such as the Scottish introduction of JobCentre Plus Wage Initiatives; however, these are typically very localised in nature and specifically centred on young people.

Practitioners generally felt that employers have positive attitudes when approached about the scheme, expressing a sense of reward for the chance to take social responsibility. At times, however, there can be some greediness on behalf of employers; and while ongoing negotiations are common, some employment collaborations have been terminated due to practitioners sensing that employers are trying to financially exploit the scheme. The emphasis must be on a mutual and shared interest in giving the women a fair chance to find lasting employment. Overall, the benefits to employers are significant, in addition to the long-term benefits to wider society, as outlined by one of the senior practitioners on the scheme:

It’s very beneficial [to employers]. Say that they would normally pay, to have an employee with a monthly salary of say 20,000SEK, then they would pay, well somewhere around 29,000SEK normally [including employer contributions], but instead they might pay less than 10,000SEK a month – That’s a hell of a difference! ... Then the contributions will be negotiated down on a yearly basis … And there’s nothing wrong with going in with a high contribution in the first year, just to get them onto the labour market, and then they have to show how capable they are … Then the contributions can start to drop. If you calculate this as a societal economical investment then it is hugely profitable … A criminal costs society around 72–74 million [SEK], an average life of crime ... So there’s some incredible savings we make, for society as a whole. (PR:S1)

As highlighted by PR:S1, the societal economic return on the original investment is significant. These benefits have also been backed up by independent evaluation research, led by the Swedish company Payoff Evaluation and Analysis AB. The evaluations, taking into account the full range of societal and state costs that ‘active’ offenders accumulate, concludes that the profitability is unmistakably positive. In numbers, the short-term profit (one year) is estimated at around 111,000 SEK (around £10,000) per participant per year, and in the medium term (five years) the profitability is forecasted to increase to 872,000 SEK (around £80,000) per participant per year (PayOff, 2014).

Recognising these societal benefits of the scheme, backed up by qualitative evidence from practitioners who are delivering it, the women who participate in the programme provide additional evidence of its value. The aspect of receiving a decent wage through a subsidy scheme was highlighted by many of the women, often narratively linked to themes around freedom, as illustrated by ‘Eva’:

You become employable within three months, and receive a market salary, like a real salary! … I won’t stay sober, or I don’t feel good, I have to work … After about three months from now I’ll become financially independent from the soc [social service] … That’s true freedom! (‘Eva’)

The beneficial aspects of the scheme go far beyond monetary factors, however, recognised by some as extra-economic factors (Uggen, 1999); these include the women’s sense of inclusion and their personal motivation to stay in work. ‘Bettan’ provides an example of how this is experienced first-hand, here describing her experiences of the scheme:

You really get good support and, then this with wage subsidies I think is completely amazing ... I mean before tax I have 24 and 5, like what the hell, seriously, on one of those, like with my background ... It’s because of that … that it’s possible to get wage subsidies, and ‘M’ [boss] put 140kr [around £14] per hour, so it’s of course that I, well it’s a lot down to that that I want to work ... Like, we’ve never really had it crap or bad with money like, but this money that we have now, now I earn so OK that he [partner] doesn’t receive benefit contributions meanwhile, you know, and so we live on my, and we still have like 2000kr [ca. £200] to spare you know, each month, before I get the next salary, so you value this money in a different way, if you know what I mean? (‘Bettan’)

‘Bettan’ highlights a number of important points in this quote. The fact that she feels that she has been given an ‘amazing’ chance to get into work, and that her boss has chosen to give her a rather high hourly rate, has a significant impact on her desistance process; it is a lot down to this fact that she ‘wants to work’. Although ‘Bettan’ never really had it ‘crap or bad with money’ during her offending years, she describes how the money that she earns in her job carries a higher value. There is an additional economic argument here. By the provision of a wage subsidy scheme, the employer has been able to set a decent wage for ‘Bettan’, which not only means that her partner can come off his benefits, but also that they can start to set aside a small sum of money every month. ‘Bettan’ describes being so grateful for the situation that she finds herself in now, that she does everything she can not to lose it; this highlights an internally lived sense of inclusion that is linked to quality employment opportunities. In turn, these factors conjointly provide a major motivating factor for lasting change. Encouragement

Discussion and concluding thoughts

The specific circumstances and needs of female offenders, and the particular challenges they meet within the system, have increasingly been recognised since the publication of the landmark Corston Report (2007); this is exemplified in the recent launch of a new governmental Female Offender Strategy that argues for a tailored, rather than a generic, approach to women and men within the system (Ministry of Justice, 2018). The disadvantages women face also continue post-sentence, however, and the role of gender in the employment re-entry process remains a fundamentally neglected area. Drawing attention to this concern, the Prison Reform Trust recently recommended that government policy and practice should consider new strategies to open up employment opportunities for women exiting criminal justice. While there are recent positive examples of developments in this field, such as the charity Working Chance, which supports women leaving the criminal justice system or care institutions into jobs, there are no comparative examples of statutory multiagency work programmes that are linked into wage subsidy schemes in the UK. In an attempt to offer some lessons from a European neighbour, this brief article has aimed to provide some food for thought for how such new employment opportunity strategies, called for by the Prison Reform Trust, may be implemented.

Drawing on practitioner and female participant narratives, along with independent evaluations of the scheme, it has been suggested that well-resourced gender-specific work programmes that offer holistic support in a safe and encouraging environment, with an emphasis on meeting and treating women as trustworthy and capable individuals, not only can offer a transformatory experience for the participants, but also can produce long-term savings for the public purse. A core part of these schemes is that they need to be well resourced, gender-responsive and non-disciplinary, recognising the dynamics of change as an ongoing and gender-specific process.

Moreover, financial aspects of the support are significant. In the ‘exceptional’ penal landscape of Sweden, active labour-market policies have been suggested to be a form of crime-fighting tool (Pratt, 2008). This is what Currie (1991:348) identifies as a ‘genuinely social crime prevention strategy’; that is, policies that aim to provide all citizens not only with the skills to participate but also with improved access to quality employment opportunities. Wage subsidy schemes to support female ex-offenders into employment are a key example of this. Some may say that this type of interventionist approach to the labour market is a radical suggestion, especially in the context of a criminal justice system falling into a neoliberal ‘excluding’ penal culture (Cavadino and Dignan, 2006). I would suggest, however, that the radicalism of such a policy lies less in its formation and more in its conceptualisation. Statistics tell us that, in contrast to the general population, women involved in the criminal justice system in England and Wales are more likely to be on out-of-work benefits than their male counterparts, both before and after convictions/sanctions (Ministry of Justice, 2014). Significant amounts of money are thus already being spent on supporting female ex-offenders outside the mainstream labour market. If we could reconceptualise wage subsidy schemes, running in conjunction with well-resourced and gender-specific work programmes, as moving women from out-of-work benefits to in-to-work benefits, the idea starts to become less of a radical labour-market intervention and more of a logical and practical method of supporting women into societal spaces of inclusion and active citizenship.

To extend on Currie’s (1991) argument about ‘genuine crime prevention tools’, I suggest that these types of initiatives could be understood as ‘genuine structural desistance tools’. For these types of desistance tools to be considered in the Anglophone context, however, a fundamental shift in overall strategy is required. Specifically, policy formation needs to give emphasis to long-term thinking underpinned by inclusionary values that actively aim for accessible and gender-responsive citizenship processes. Not only does the evidence suggest that this would save the public purse money in the long term,[4] but also it would allow more women – who, more often than not, have overcome traumatic hurdles that most of us can only imagine – a space as contributing and valued members in a society that sends clear messages to both employers and wider society of tolerance, solidarity, and the far-reaching value of giving people a second (though also often a third and a fourth) chance in life to succeed.




[1] The data was collected between November 2012 and May 2013, and was gathered across three different cities in Sweden, thus limiting regional specificity of the findings (Ungerson, 1996).

[2] The data drawn on in this article exclusively relates to the female side of the organisational work. Although overlaps are likely, the data will not comment on the work undertaken with male ex-offenders in this setting.

[3] In the initial assessment stage, background factors and experiences are considered and explored, in order for, if deemed necessary, the woman to be linked into suitable support to deal with any factors that may impede her engagement with the programme.

[4] With recent figures suggesting that that, excluding wider social costs, female offenders cost the government a total of around £1.7bn (Ministry of Justice, 2018), these savings are noteworthy.



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