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Keywords:

  • women;
  • punishment;
  • reoffending

Abstract

Police, prison and court data show that during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries Stafford magistrates overwhelmingly imposed small fines or short prison sentences on the women coming before them. The offending trajectories of the repeat female offenders in Stafford show that for most of them such punishments either had little or no deterrent effect. However those women who were perceived to live beyond the safe haven of a family were more likely not only to be sentenced to custody but also to find their custodial sentences becoming successive which, in turn, exacerbated their offending.