12 Pages
Unlock Document

Woodsworth College Courses
Rosemary Gartner

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
More Less

Related notes for WDW101Y1

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.