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Female Offenders: An Analysis of Social Inquiry Reports

NCJ Number
Home Office Research and Planning Unit Research Bulletin Issue: 23 Dated: (1987) Pages: 8-11
H Jackson; L Smith
Date Published
Social inquiry reports (SIR's), one source of information used in community service sentencing decisions, were analyzed for 69 English women serving prison sentences for theft offenses in 1985.
These offenders had very low incomes; 83 percent had prior convictions, usually for a similar theft offense. In 15 cases, community service was viewed as appropriate sentencing; while in 22 it was not. Reasons cited for the inappropriateness of a community service order included the woman's domestic responsibilities, the nature of the previous offense, substance abuse, and general attitudes and motivation. Suspended sentence and probation were the two other most common sentencing recommendations for noncustodial sanctions. A comparison of the reports for those receiving custodial sentences and 94 women receiving community service orders for theft offenses indicates that reports for the latter group tended to be more positive in tone both about the offender and community service and were more likely to specifically recommend community service and provide rationales for the recommendation. 3 references.