Spotlight on: Naomi Murphy

Are the histories of male prisoners really any less traumatic than those of female prisoners?

Naomi Murphy

It is now generally accepted that women prisoners often have a history of childhood neglect and/or abuse.   Consequently, there is recognition that rehabilitation of women offenders will require some resources to be directed towards resolving issues arising from such a history and providing emotional support to women during imprisonment.  The implicit message within such a narrative though is that female prisoners differ from male prisoners in this regard; that women need a “special” kind of service other than that required by men and that male prisoners are much less likely to have such needs. 

The author of this paper works within a high secure prison providing psychological treatment to male prisoners.  She will present an audit of the histories of the men in the unit and suggest that men’s needs in prison are not so very different to those of female prisoners.