Lessons About Female Ex-offender Employment Support From a European Neighbour: Gender-responsive Multiagency Work Programmes and the use of Wage Subsidy Schemes in Sweden

Published 23/01/2019
Type Article
Author(s) Linnéa A. M. Österman
Corresponding Authors

With over a decade having passed since the publication of the landmark Corston Report (Corston, 2007), and a new governmental Female Offender Strategy having been launched in the summer of 2018 (Ministry of Justice, 2018), it is an apt time to look forward and think both critically and creatively about future directions for women, criminal justice and reintegration. By turning the criminological gaze to a European neighbour – one that has often been described in terms of an ‘exceptional’ penal landscape – this brief article offers a case study exploration of the use of gender-responsive multiagency work programmes and wage subsidy schemes to support female ex-offenders into meaningful employment in Sweden. Following some introductory reflective thoughts on the role of gender in the ex-offender labour market entry puzzle, the structure and core ingredients of a successful multiagency work programme in Sweden will be detailed [1], drawing on qualitative interview data with both practitioners and female participants. Attention will then be directed to the use of wage subsidy schemes to support female reintegration through employment. The article will be concluded with a call for a shift in thinking towards long-term socio-economic investments in what are described as ‘structural desistance tools’, emphasising the lasting value of finding creative solutions to encourage inclusive citizenship processes that give women exiting criminal justice a fairer chance of successful reintegration.