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week 11 - November 21.docx

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Nicole Myers

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SOC305 Theory in Practice November 21 2012 Hannah-Moffat Asserts that morality is embedded in risk and risk technologies and systems of risk management are structured around morality, moral understandings and moral assessments Highlights the shift towards a managerial like way to addressing offenders Suggests that this new penology that has developed is a managerial phenomenon Its not about transforming or disciplining, it is about managing o Where we get ideas about warehousing It is about managing the population not trying to get ppl to change Criticizes that we have a very limited recognition and knowledge of subjectivity as well as the moral disciplinary actions of techniques Says that we need to understand and explore the moral and political aspects of categories of risk Wants us to consider that there is a differential impact of actuarial risk claims on different populations Actuarial techniques are often claimed to be very efficient and objective These actuarial techniques give the impression of objectivity but she says that it is questionable that these actuarial forms have displaced or replaced alternative regimes referring to actuarial type tools being used and then having practitioners overriding those tools Concerned about the presumption that risk governance acts uniformly across populations She suggests that we need to consider that these risk governance acts differently on the basis of different race, gender, etc. Trying to do an empirical study of the new penology and the risk society The reason why she looks at this is because she is trying to demonstrate that in practical instances of governing that when in practice these are used, the concept of risk is very gendered, ambiguous, and flexible In order to explore gendered dynamics she looked at womens prisons in 5 regions these 5 regional prisons were re-conceptualized to be women focused and follow a women centered philosophy o This pushed corrections to create a more sophisticated womens centered model or risk classification o The concern was that risk classifications that have been developed for men and tested on men do not necessarily fit the female experience and cannot be applied to women o There was an acknowledgement that we needed something more gender focused Security management model a risk classification system and took roots from the only womens center risk assessment model available, in Minnesota o it is behavioural based o outlines the expectations of behaviour and the consequences of behaviour o designed to establish someones risk classification level within the institution o 3 primary criteria used in this assessment were: institutional adjustment how well the women is doing in the constitution custody escape risks concerns around public safety. o The model was created as past models did not understand gender differences to risk and womens needs and how they are different from men o Concerns around it never being tested on women o Concerns around vague criteria, there is room for subjective evaluation and discretion (e.g. concerns for children the need to care for your children is being re-conceptualized as the risk one would escape) o Concerns around violence in the institution used to measure institutional adjustment and again used to measure concerns around community safety resulted in an over emphasis given to past behaviour and non-compliance o Emphasis on this model is about women making informed choices, to get women to take responsibility for their actions and choices, and assume consequences for their choices and actions Becomes the responsibility of the offender to become accountable for their actions and choices o This suggests that consequences for failure to meet institutional standards, means that there is a failure on the part of women to minimize her risk by realizing her needs o Creates the illusion that women will accept her role for this regulatory process and they will become informed and committed participants as part of this process She highlights a number of the ambiguities around actuarial tables Refers to the idea that our definition of risk on contingent on very specific to cultural, moral, and political evaluations of events That while we have these seemingly neutral categories, they are shaped by gender They are very much shaped by gender We see focuses on criminogenic needs, it is a managerial process managing ppl through their needs The prison becomes a location in which we exercise several technologies that are guided by very divergent realities different rationalities in terms of our approach The actuarial language that is used gives the impression of objectivity as these tools being very capable and scientific These risk classification are unable to differentiate between types of risks and the severity of the risk there is no measure of determining how severe a risk is The details that are lost in actuarial tables by simply checking a box, we are losing the context Highlights that in these tools there is an assumption that how one behaves on the inside will be how they behave on the outside, but there is no social science evidence that indicates this being true, that just b/c someone may misbehave in an institution, does not mean that they will misbehave outside of the institution o But being in prison is a very different environment and experience o We often talk about prison being a very criminogenic place where ppl come out worse that they went in, that we may see ppl who were never violent are then violent in prison in order to protect themselves and to get through their sentence The behaviour that happens in an institution feeds into to determining the level of security one needs, planning/early release, need to think of the relationship between prison environment to the production and promotion of risky behaviour that maybe its not that the women is more or less risky but maybe its the institution Raises the concern that there is too much room to interpret behaviour someone has to interpret the behaviour and determine it as risky or not Says that what we are seeing is an amalgamation of moral evaluations of behaviour and risk assessments - we are taking more evaluation and saying that those are indicative of risk Says that we see a slippage in language, between risk and need, an inflation of the two, they are no longer being seen as two separate entities, they are overlapping Particularly for women, in assessing the risks someone poses we end up redefining someones needs as being a risk e.g. need or desire to care for ones children is re- defined as a risk one will escape Seems that wherever there is an unsatisfied need there is a potential risk factor seems to be very difficult to identify the difference between a risk and a need In the context of women, the emphasis is on needs, seems to be understood that women do not pose a threat to public safety, so as opposed to mens institutions where we focus on their risks, in womens prison we focus on their needs o This is how we end up with things like security needs Traditional concerns around
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