Female offenders form 5% of the prison population in the UK and have very specific needs. 53% of women in prison report emotional, physical or sexual abuse in childhood and 31% have spent time in the care system. Women in prison engage in self harm at a higher level then male offenders and are also subject to higher disciplinary procedures, possibly because women in prison are 5 times more likely to have a mental health concern than women in the general population.
Phoene Cave reports on her work a music therapist in a women’s prison. Sharing stories and songs from this challenging setting, she shows how the musical and creative process of music therapy helped many women in prison to gain self esteem and self confidence. For some women, this enabled them to “find their voice”, often leading them to engage successfully in further intervention inside the prison (such as educational or recovery programmes or psychotherapy).
Phoene Cave is an HCPC registered music therapist, vocal coach and community choir leader. She is also a creative project manager and a CNHC registered shiatsu practitioner. She has practised yoga for many years. This combination of skills, together with an “interesting” life experience led to her working for nearly two years as a music therapist with female offenders.