Whilst rustling through my surprisingly extensive collection of blogs looking for a particular prison story, I came across this. It’s the blog I wrote and posted immediately before my heart-attack (same day) and in scanning through it’s contents for the telling-tale I was after, my eye fell upon these words..
You may not know this, but research into women offenders ‘in their own right’ is relatively new. For years, all research on offenders was based upon male offending. The researchers were just beginning to take notice of us women when I was in prison in 2008/9 and they found they had to go back to the drawing board.
And therein lies another whole story that it is time to bring out into daylight for ethical supervision.
We hear a lot of propaganda from Criminal Justice professionals about their ‘dedication’. For some, this is undoubtedly true but we – us criminals down here – don’t get much of a voice about how that dedication works.
Let’s have a look at the psychologist’s take on women prisoners – the majority are designed for men. I’ve taken part in any number of surveys and research studies during my time as a prisoner but no-one ever came back and told me what they found. Some ‘choice’ questionnaires were so obviously designed for the male psyche, I doubt if they got any worthwhile information at all. But there was one I took part in. I’m sure the woman in question will deny it because she’s bound by her ethics to maintain my confidentiality. That word, ‘confidentiality’ is not designed to protect me – not one bit of it – it’s there to protect her. Let’s see what happens to your, the reader’s, sense of personal ethics as my tale unfolds.
This particular piece of research was done on the High-Security wing at HMP Low Newton. This wing was also home to the Primrose Unit – a Rampton Hospital out-reach for prisoners with serious mental health problems. As far as I know, it was the first of its kind which, in itself, would have produced lots of research material too. This particular project was sold to me – I forget by whom – as one of the first real studies into women’s criminality and mental health. I didn’t quite fit the criteria but, because I was considered something of a rare bird, I was asked if I minded being thrown to the researcher (metaphorically speaking). I didn’t mind at all. There was a very great deal wrong with the way my peers were being treated. If there was a psychologist around willing to listen, I was more than willing to talk and I did.
The research was, I found, much more conversational and we covered a very great deal of professional ground. My background as both psychotherapist and shaman meant we had considerable common-ground. But our reasons for being there were very different. On my part, I shared so much of myself because I wanted to show that I knew what I was talking about. In fact, we shared many professional agreements and I came away hopeful that, somewhere, a psychologist would do the math and start producing ways of helping these women emerge from their prison experience. Most are not supposed to be there. I retained good memories of that experience but like all the other researchers before her, I never got to see the fruit of our joint efforts.
I wasn’t told the research I was being asked to participate in was a study in women’s psychopathy. I was told it was the among the first studies for targeting women prisoners. I helped because I genuinely thought the intention was to help my peers. Instead I find the researcher teaching her peers to fear and hate us – everything human has been stripped away from me. My name. My identity. My compassion and strength. My Honour and Dignity. I am labelled psychopath simply from having participated in the study. So where did my value, my individuality, my creativity go if all I am left with is the epithet ‘psychopath’.
All my skills, generosity, honesty, truthfulness and humanity were offered up to a ‘professional’ who purported to be genuinely interested in understanding women prisoners. Instead, I discover she went straight off and got her doctorate in selling the ‘professional’ idea of psychopathy which she obtained, under false pretences, from women who have been subject to the grossest forms of abuse already. We are all robbed of our identity but not so we can be seen on our terms and given the help we need. This research was done to the further the individual career-path of said researcher by giving her a title – she can call herself a ‘Chartered’ Psychologist now – with a reputation for knowing about psychopaths. And the unidentified women who are the source of all this wealth and success? Probably still where they are; cutting, ligaturing, going more insane as the cruelty of the Prison Service increases, even though we’ve known for over five years that eighty percent shouldn’t be there.
Either you are a professional who understands the proper healthy ethical standard or you don’t.
As a former qualified and acceditted Gestalt psychotherapist with twelve years London-based private practice, I see no ethics at all in the above arrangement. If that is what passes for ethical practice in psychology, the entire profession should be shut down. I’ve never seen anything more disgraceful in my life and no amount of apologising will do. It won’t cut it. This is the most appalling example of professional abuse and I cannot express my rage, I am so angry.
Just who the fuck do you people think you are!!!
How DARE you treat another human being that way. That researcher wasn’t alone. She has tutors and whatnot involved in what she was producing – it’s a conspiracy to rob abused women of any remaining compassion around.
When something is unethical, it is unholy.
May God forgive you because I’m not sure I can.
The Fruit of this Research are not true. They are not even true in Hell.