1st Edition

Ladies of Lost Causes

ISBN 9781843922988
Published March 1, 2007 by Willan
276 Pages

USD $49.95

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Book Description

In this highly original study, Judith Rumgay evaluates the development of a residential programme for female offenders run by the Griffins Society. The text is unique in that it documents the radical contribution of women philanthropists and practitioners to offender rehabilitation.

Drawing on archival, interview, and observational sources, the author describes, analyses, and evaluates a distinctive model of care provision by volunteer, upper-middle-class women that has since been overtaken by the professionalization of the voluntary sector. Rumgay illuminates the pathways of women into, and out of, serious crime; explores the dynamics of rehabilitative practice in the volatile setting of residential care; and also analyses the qualities of successful rehabilitative practice.

Subsequently, the author suggests rehabilitative success is more appropriately understood within a paradigm of natural desistance from crime, instead of the more common appeal to a medical model of treatment. Moreover, this style of rehabilitative practice is inextricable from the broader social outlook of a dedicated group of philanthropic women, whose critics derided them with epithets such as 'Lady Bountiful'.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Frances Heidensohn  1. Introduction 2. A philanthropic phoenix  3. Just ladies who lunch?  4. Pioneers on the front line  5. Dangerous women or women in danger?  6. Rehabilitation in the real world  7. Desistance and despair  8. The philanthropic ideal

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Judith Rumgay is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the London School of Economics. Her teaching focuses on areas of psychology and crime, rehabilitation of offenders and community penalties.


‘This is a remarkable book, both because of the story it tells and the way in which Judith Rumgay discovered and presents it. . . it is a privilege to write a foreword for a book which speaks to so many of the concerns that I and others share about work for, by and about women.’ – Professor Frances Heidensohn (LSE)