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Invisible Women book cover

Invisible Women: What's Wrong With Women's Prisons Paperback - 31 March 1998

by Angela Devlin

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Usually despatched within 3 working days: why?This title is currently printed-to-order, which usually takes around two working days (although at busy times it can take longer)

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Paperback |  ISBN 9781872870595 |  Published 31 March 1998300 pages | Publisher Waterside Press

Book description

More and more women are being sent to prison: at the time when this book was written numbers had doubled over the last five years, and the Prison Reform Trust called this 'a rate of increase without precedent in the modern era.' Indeed, the figures for convicted women shows an even greater increase - 76% according to the National Association of Probation Officers, more than twice the increase for men. Though the media focuses on high profile women prisoners like Myra Hindley and Rosemary West, most women become 'invisible' as soon as they pass through the prison gates and are subsumed into a world that is predominantly masculine and insensitive to their very different needs.

The author spent five years visiting twelve of the 16 prisons that take women, interviewing female prisoners and, more unusually, those whose job it is to care for them - prison officers, education, probation and healthcare staff, chaplains and counsellors. In a book that is accessible to the general reader as well as to the prison professional, she vividly recreates the realities of prison life for a woman prisoner at the end of the twentieth century, as conditions worsen with overcrowding, staff shortages and expenditure cuts.

Some of Devlin's findings will shock as well as inform: she describes the over-use of medication as a means of control; the violence resulting from drug misuse; the plight of ethnic minority and foreign national women; and the self-mutilation and suicide attempts of female prisoners in desperate need of help.

Invisible Women is a comprehensive and graphic update on the current state of women's prisons in England and Wales. It enables readers - especially people who have never set foot inside a prison - to 'see' the invisible women behind the bars. Since the book's publication in 1998 it has become something of a classic and is required or recommended reading on many college and practitioner courses.


'What a marvellous book . . . Excellent': Justice of the Peace


Angela Devlin is a writer, broadcaster and exponent of prisoners’ rights whose work has attracted wide interest and acclaim: Criminal Classes (Waterside Press, 1995), Prison Patter: A Dictionary of Prison Slang (Waterside Press, 1996); Anybody’s Nightmare: The Sheila Bowler Story (Taverner Publications, 1998), Going Straight After Crime and Punishment with Bob Turney (Waterside Press, 1999) and Cell Mates/Soul Mates (Waterside Press, 2002). Anybody’s Nightmare, the true story of a wrongful conviction for murder, was later dramatised for ITV and featured the character ‘Angela Devlin’ campaigning for the case to be re-opened (The conviction was eventually quashed and the defendant acquitted after a new trial).

Alternative format ISBNs: PDF ebook ISBN 9781906534295.

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