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Punishment in Disguise

Punishment in Disguise: Penal Governance and Canadian Women's Imprisonment

Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 256
  • Book Info
    Punishment in Disguise
    Book Description:

    A look at some current forms of penal governance in Canadian federal women?s prisons and a suggestion that the prison system itself, given its primary functions of custody and punishment, is consistent in thwarting attempts at progressive reform.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7890-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    In the spring of 1995, Canadians were shocked by images of women prisoners being forcefully strip-searched by members of a male emergency response team clothed in black riot gear. These stark images were first aired by the television programthe fifth estateand later reproduced in nearly every major Canadian newspaper and magazine. In the wake of this videotaped evidence, the Canadian government was widely accused of inhumane and unconstitutional treatment of women prisoners. Advocates and prisoners recounted horrifying stories of prolonged segregation (with women being denied access to their lawyers, clothing, showers, sanitary products, and so on), cross-gender strip...

  5. Chapter One Mothering the Flock: Maternal Discipline and Pastoral Power
    (pp. 19-44)

    Ever since the nineteenth century, reformers, administrators, and politicians have attempted to reform women prisoners by establishing women-centred regimes, using softer and gentler technologies of reform. Current and past attempts to create a new regime for women have often been in stark contrast to the quasi-military, anonymous, and strictly uniform regimes imposed on men. Implicit in women-centred models is the idea that the negative attributes of penal discipline are tempered by the influence of women. There have been few critical accounts of the relations that emerge when women govern other women: the power relations among women are either overlooked, or...

  6. Chapter Two Mother Knows Best: The Development of Separate Institutions for Women
    (pp. 45-70)

    Feminist theorists are sensitive to the ways in which social controls are exercised on womenas womento encourage conformity to prescribed gender roles. The literature on how women are regulated through paternal logics is fairly well established. What is less developed are analyses of how maternal logics are used bywomento regulate women and shape institutional agendas. This chapter analyses how maternal discipline is applied in women's penal reform projects. It shows how the metaphor of motherhood and, in particular, the image of mothers' responsibility for correcting their errant daughters was adopted by state and nonstate maternal reformers...

  7. Chapter Three Finding a New Home: From Kingston Penitentiary to the Prison for Women
    (pp. 71-91)

    The previous two chapters argued that international women's prison reform and the administration of women's prisons exhibit multiple logics. They showed how pastoral and disciplinary forms of governance were central to the reform strategies mobilized by Elizabeth Fry, American women prison reformers, and the state officials who envisioned and administered the Andrew Mercer Reformatory. The disciplinary governance of women prisoners has both coercive and productive capacities, and this approach to governing is gendered. Maternal logics have a flexible and eclectic quality that allows them to be fused with different penal logics under different circumstances. Prior to the emergence of liberal...

  8. Chapter Four Laywomen's Expertise: Women's Prison Reform, 1945–70
    (pp. 92-131)

    Scholars interested in the therapeutic regulation of women prisoners have focused on state agents of social control, and on how these agents construct and respond to the 'disturbed' or 'maladjusted' female offender using medical or psychiatric definitions of women's deviance (Edwards 1981; Dobash, Dobash, and Gutteridge 1986; Allen 1987a, 1987b; Carlen and Worrall 1987; Sim 1990; Chunn and Menzies 1990; Kendall 1993b; Faith 1993; Smart 1995). In contrast, the activities of women penal reformers and their role in the governance of incarcerated women through nonmedical and pseudo-scientific knowledges are largely unexplored. The rehabilitation of prisoners is usually considered to be...

  9. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  10. Chapter Five Breaking with Tradition: Feminist Reformers and the Empowerment of Women? 1970–96
    (pp. 132-161)

    In the 1970s, the women's movement in Canada and other Western countries launched ideological and political attacks on the historically entrenched notion of separate spheres that informed maternal and certain first-wave feminist strategies. In law reform, liberal feminist equal-rights strategies played a central role in improving the positions of some women. Legal struggles around abortion, labour law, family law, and criminal law led to an extension of legal rights and protections to women. These liberal feminist concerns about equality rights paralleled certain developments in Canadian penality. During the early 1970s, many Canadian and American prisons experienced riots and violent deaths...

  11. Chapter Six Empowering Prison: Neoliberal Governance
    (pp. 162-187)

    Penal governance has changed in the years following the tabling ofCreating Choices, but not in the ways envisioned by the task force and reformers. As outlined in the previous chapter, many of the ideals reflected inCreating Choiceswere compromised while the most recent reforms were being operationalized. While Corrections Canada has adopted a more feminized penal discourse and improved the material conditions of some women prisoners, the more sinister and oppressive punitive elements of incarceration persist.¹ In this chapter, instead of continuing to document the widening gap between the ideals ofCreating Choicesand the vision of reformers,²...

  12. Conclusion: Stumbling Blocks, Growing Pains, or More of the Same?
    (pp. 188-200)

    This book has analysed how federal women prisoners have been governed and how various expert and nonexpert knowledges have shaped and given authority to various prison regimes. It has revealed that patterns of governing women's prisons in both the past and the present have relied on multiple and interrelated relations of productiveandrepressive power. At any given historical moment, multiple rationalities and technologies are available to reformers and state agents. Processes of governance incorporate a variety of possibly contradictory rationalities and mobilize various techniques for the purpose of governing a known object in a particular way. Strategies of reform...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 201-222)
  14. References
    (pp. 223-246)
  15. Index
    (pp. 247-250)