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Department
Woodsworth College Courses
Course
WDW101Y1
Professor
Rosemary Gartner
Semester
Fall

Description
Crime and Imprisonment 11/23/2011 4:14:00 PM Gender and Imprisonment: Women and Imprisonment  In what ways is imprisonment gendered?  How have the development of and efforts to reform women’s prisons in Canada been shaped by notions about gender? - gender helps to shape imprisonment more than most other areas of criminology - sex and gender in a sense determines imprisonment - only separate prisons for sexes - much more fundamentally about sex and gender - prison is a gendered institution in the way that prisoners experience prison and how correctional workers go about their job and relationships between inmates and staff - sex of prisoners and sex of staff - also gendered in policies and practices - what are appropriate ways to imprison people? - fundamentally based on sex of inmate - since its beginnings prisons have been shaped by sex and gender - the way sex and gender influence imprisonment s far more complex than sexual segregation  “women have it worse than men” – fallacious  different types of disadvantages - History focuses mainly on men’s prisons  mostly because there are more  worth spending time on history of women’s prisons  prison as a form of punishment did not exist before the early 19 th century  purpose was not punishment, but to hold people before they were tried  not sent there as a penalty, when convicted there were many other punishments (fines, transportation, corporal, capital) - Canada in the 17 thand 18 thc  local jails, held prior to trial  horrible. Not sex segregated, cold, rats, cockroaches, shed by courthouse  men, women, children, insane, elderly all in same jail  circuit court judges moving town to town, many people died in jails  people skipped town to avoid jails  more worried about dying - first prison in Canada was the Kingston penitentiary (1835)  Prison for men, no thought given to female prisoners  Designed around the idea that inmates would be males convicted of pretty serious crimes  Less serious criminals by early 19 thc were put in more local jails th  Early 19 c became less of a holding cell, more of a punishment for less serious crimes  Within a year of its opening, received its first female inmate  Warden didn’t want women in prison  Very concerned about women causing disruption  Women housed in the attic  3 women, all accused of theft  first recognition that men and women should be segregated by sex  not out of benevolence  more concerned that if females were around males there would be fighting th  small area, 70 women by the middle of 19 c; conditions were no better for women, and in some ways worse  never left attic  no talking (men or women)  could only read bible or sew; required to sew sheets for males and females inmates  men could go out in the yard, but had to engage in hard labour  women suffered mentally emotionally, men physically  flogging for men, women, and children (child flogged for smiling, winking, laughing)  when attic became too small, set aside rooms for women, put bars on windows and doors to keep men out  diets differed greatly (women X2 a day, men X3)  1838: investigations into how women were treated  1913: separate facility for women was built within the walls of the Kingston Pen  conditions improved greatly, access to outdoors  20 years later women were moved out of the cell block to make room for men  1934: Kingston P4W opened, but conditions worsened for females Kingston P4W  No educational facilities  Built as a maximum security prison  Number of women imprisoned was so small, all prisoners were in same area  No recreational, yard  Overtime because of objections by prison reformers (middle class women)  Didn’t have a yard until 1955, then had a garden  Up until 1980s, there was no access to same programs as men (counseling, education) because it was “too expensive”  In some ways, the fact that women made up such a small proportion of the offenders it was worse for them because there was no justification for services Federal government/provinces established saw provincial establishments (confederation)  (for less serious offences)  many women served here for less serious crime th  in the late 19 c many abolitionists in the states and progressive activists in Canada became concerned about the fact that Prisons seemed to be making people even more criminal  hard to distinguish between hardened criminals and those who can be reformed  not a lot of female hardened criminals  reformatories came up  reformatories geared towards women, youth  judges decide who goes there  magistrates influenced by race bias/class/cultural  looked at convict in front of them, decided by race, class who was more “reformable”  prison had a more definite sentence, reformatories did not (indefinite)  we believe we can reform you, and you’ll be here until we do  women ended up spending more time in reformatories The Andrew Mercer Reformatory for Women  1872 in Toronto  opened to a maternal-domestic regime  had a “matron” to teach them how to be women  belief was these women needed to be acceptable feminine women in order to make it out of jail  worked on manners, demeanor, appearance  plastic surgeons in training were sent to women’s prisons to “try make them more attractive”  whole part about reforming women was changing person AND appearance  more attractive, more well mannered, to make women better wives and mothers  even wore attractive clothes while in reformatory - highly gendered nature of imprisonment  demands for equal treatment of female and male prisons  males had more opportunities to training and counseling  feminists clamoured for equal rights and treatment  equal treatment meant that women lost some privileges  equality meant that we will make women’s prisons more like men  one of the problems with this was a loss of visitation, packages received th 20 Century Women’s Prison Reform Movement  1990: task force on federally sentenced women  spend several months interviewing about experiences and needs of prisoners and staff  found that women were experiencing a number of problems much more than males  task force determined women had more histories of sexual, physical abuse, drugs and alcohol, suicide attempts (at federal level)  women had distinctly different needs  developed a “women-centred” regime based on empowerment, healing, and choice  decision was made to close P4W  established 4 regional facilities and a healing lodge  Staff with least seniority sent to four regional facilities  Women shuffled around, but not until 1994 and that’s when the P4W events happened (watch film)  The Arbour Commission Report filed with government in 1996  Reports came out after P4W closed down  New facilities had many of the same problems  Within a year there were a number of escapes , suicide attempts, and suicides  Prisons were retrofitted to be more secure  Another complaint was filed, this time by aboriginal group in 2001  Key complaints of this report had to do with risk-assessment tools used on women  Every prisoner was given a risk assessment  Problem is that the tool used was based on studies of male inmates  Tool failed to recognize that male and female prisoners posed very different risks  Most aboriginal women not getting access to healing lodges because they were classified as maximum security risks  It appears that women were being disadvantaged by gendered risk assessment tool  Tony Doob found that risk assessment tool was highly accurate at predicting misconduct for male inmates, but had no validity for female inmates  Many female offenders (aboriginal especially) were given higher security ratings tha
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