UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Creating choices in the UK : re-imagining the female criminal justice system Alton, Louise Elizabeth


The prison system of the UK is riddled with sexual inequality, substantially the same procedures and facilities being extended to both male and female prisoners, representing a failure to realise that the two genders experience incarceration in materially different ways. The current formation of the system is blind to the social inequalities and difficulties which construct the identities of the majority of female offenders, resulting in an array of fundamental human rights abuses. Furthermore, decisions which significantly disadvantage female inmates are made daily, with little consideration given as to the correct bases for making such life changing choices. Time and time again however, proposals for meaningful and radical reform are met only with lethargic stalling by the Government, which seems content to pander to a punitive public desire heavily constructed by unjustified media representation. While similar processes have also operated in the Canadian context, federal female prison reform has taken a decidedly feminist tilt over the last 20 years. It is in light of this that thorough comparative examination and analysis of North American penal reform will provide a body of information which will eventually constitute an invaluable resource upon which to draw in planning the UK’s next moves towards a more substantively equal and effective female criminal justice system.

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