Brown, M; Ross, S
(SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2010-04-01)
Mentoring ex-prisoners is an increasingly popular tool in the burgeoning field of offender reintegration and resettlement. Yet surprisingly little is known about what makes mentoring effective and indeed even whether it can be effective within the domain of criminal justice. This article proceeds in two parts. First, drawing upon desistance theory it attempts to develop a theoretical underpinning for mentoring practice with ex-offenders that would identify appropriate targets for mentoring practice, including the development of social capital or connectedness. Part two of the article utilises data from research on a women's mentoring program in Victoria, Australia, to understand how one key dimension of desistance — social capital — is recognised by women as a domain of need and those women's perceptions of the way mentoring may deliver gains in social connectedness and capital. The article concludes with a discussion of the distinctly gendered nature of women's postprison experiences and the way in which these factors shape both the process of desistance and the nature of mentoring interventions.