Ciesla, Kayley (2019) Women Offenders’ Criminal Narrative Experience (CNE): Agentic Actor or Survivor? Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Historically offending theories have concentrated on external factors as explanations for offending behaviours. The benefit of utilising self-report methodologies and concentrating on the experience of the individual involved in the act is growing in popularity. The central aim of this research was to explore the distinct and varying encounters of women offenders during the commission of a crime. 128 women who had committed a criminal offence were recruited, the women had an average age of 36.40 years (SD = 11.12). Women offender volunteers completed a questionnaire exploring affective experiences, individual narrative roles, criminal and background factors, personality types and criminal thinking styles relating to their offences. To examine themes and patterns of women offenders Criminal Narrative Experience (CNE), Smallest Space Analysis (SSA) was utilised. Results indicated four main affective themes typical of women offenders’ emotional experiences: Depression, Distress, Calm and Elation. Explorations of women offenders’ narratives revealed a further four themes: Hero, Professional, Revenger and Victim. Additional explorations revealed the thematic relationship between affective and narrative experiences amongst women offenders revealing two clear Criminal Narrative Experience themes; Survivor and Agentic Actor. In this sample the Survivor theme was the most typical and illustrative of the women questioned. Further findings indicated the difference between offence type and the two CNE themes. Explorations of the two CNE themes were also explored with social, criminal and background factors as well as personality types and criminal thinking styles. The methodological, practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed in relation to offender management, treatment, rehabilitation and professional practice relating to women offenders.

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