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Book part
Publication date: 16 September 2020

Lucy Baldwin

In recent years, the topic of maternal imprisonment has experienced a significantly raised profile, generating new knowledge and understanding surrounding the impact of…

Abstract

In recent years, the topic of maternal imprisonment has experienced a significantly raised profile, generating new knowledge and understanding surrounding the impact of maternal imprisonment on mothers and their children (Baldwin, 2015, 2017, 2018; Baldwin & Epstein, 2017; Booth, 2017; Lockwood, 2017, 2018; Masson, 2019). However, the long-term impact of maternal imprisonment and subsequent resettlement, particularly in relation to maternal identity and emotion, is less well-researched or understood. This chapter, drawing on the authors research from across two projects with 46 post imprisoned mothers, highlights the significant impact, as described by the mothers, on their reintegration into their families and the persistent pains of maternal imprisonment. Mothers sometimes, decades post release, describe their ongoing trauma at being separated from their children, sometimes permanently. Those who remain in their children's lives describe how they feel ‘tainted’, ‘watched’, ‘judged’ and ‘permanently changed by their imprisonment’. For the mothers in the study who were also grandmothers, the effects appeared magnified, producing what grandmothers described as ‘layers of shame’. The chapter describes how this change, often negative perception of themselves as mothers, can interplay with mothers' ability to engage in rehabilitative processes and ultimately their desistance.

The chapter concludes with recommendations to avoid, wherever possible, the criminalisation of mothers, resulting in fewer imprisonments. In the event of imprisonment, greater consideration must be afforded to maternal experience and emotions. To maximise success, early resettlement work, starting within and continuing through the prison gates is essential. Failure to do so may impact negatively on mothers' themselves and their ability to engage in rehabilitative planning/supervision and therefore desistance, which will ultimately broaden the impact to their children and wider society.

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Book part
Publication date: 2 July 2020

Marion Vannier

Some countries prohibit the imposition of life imprisonment on women but allow it for men for the same offence (e.g. Albania, Azerbaijan, Russia and Belarus). In Khamtokhu

Abstract

Some countries prohibit the imposition of life imprisonment on women but allow it for men for the same offence (e.g. Albania, Azerbaijan, Russia and Belarus). In Khamtokhu and Aksenchik v. Russia (2017) the European Court of Human Rights rejected the claim that it was discriminatory to punish two Russian men convicted of murder to life imprisonment. Other than a handful of legal commentaries there have been no in-depth analyses of the case, in particular on the dangers of using gender stereotyping to limit life imprisonment. To address this gap, this chapter draws on criminological works on the gendered experience of life imprisonment, legal analyses of perpetual incarceration under human rights law and ECHR case law on gender stereotyping and on life imprisonment. This study critically discusses the Court’s assessment of gender stereotypes in the context of life imprisonment and considers whether its approach constitutes any improvement for women. In so doing, it illuminates how well-intended efforts to curtail some extreme forms of penal practices such as perpetual incarceration may have unintended and perverse consequences for women specifically and the landscape of punishment more generally.

Details

The Emerald Handbook of Feminism, Criminology and Social Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-956-4

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2016

Mark Pettigrew

– The purpose of this paper is to explore supposed inevitable personal decline for long-term prisoners, particularly those serving a sentence of life without parole.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore supposed inevitable personal decline for long-term prisoners, particularly those serving a sentence of life without parole.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the prison records of a life without parole sentenced prisoner.

Findings

Findings suggest that prisoner deterioration is not inevitable in a whole life prison sentence.

Research limitations/implications

Findings are based on one account, of a female prisoner.

Practical implications

Distinct services and support are required for those with a natural life prison sentence.

Originality/value

To date, there is limited research of prisoners serving life without parole, particularly the mental health implications of denying a prisoner future parole.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Book part
Publication date: 10 October 2014

Maggy Lee and K. Joe Laidler

This chapter aims to examine the ways in which gender has featured in Hong Kong’s prison system from its colonial origins to its contemporary form as a politically…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter aims to examine the ways in which gender has featured in Hong Kong’s prison system from its colonial origins to its contemporary form as a politically autonomous region of China. We conclude with a discussion on the reasons for these recent trends of imprisonment.

Design/methodology/approach

We draw from the concepts of patriarchy and colonialism to examine how gender has operated and shaped Hong Kong’s prison system. Our analysis is based on historical and contemporary government reports and other documents and secondary data.

Findings

Similar to other locales around the world, Hong Kong’s prison system was designed for and by men in its early colonial days, as expected given that most prisoners were male. Although a few prison administrators attempted to provide some programs for women and voiced concern over the conditions of women’s imprisonment to colonial authorities during the latter part of the 1800s, it was not until the 1930s that the first female prison was established. Since then, Hong Kong prison authorities have faced the challenge of a phenomenal and rapid growth in women’s imprisonment, which resulted in a historical reversal of shifting male prisoners to alternate accommodation to make room for their female counterparts.

Originality/value

This study is among the few which have examined how gender operates in the context of imprisonment in a colonial and postcolonial context. This chapter does this by examining how colonial authorities managed competing political debates about the purpose of punishment and cultural understandings of race and difference, and the limited recognition of gender and difference. It also examines how, in postcolonial Hong Kong, authorities have placed gender center stage and the reasons for this in coping and dealing with the growth in women’s imprisonment.

Details

Punishment and Incarceration: A Global Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-907-2

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 16 September 2020

Abstract

Details

Mothering from the Inside
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-344-0

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2006

Nick De Viggiani

Prison social environments play an important role in the health of prisoners. How they respond to imprisonment is partially dependent upon how effectively they integrate…

Abstract

Prison social environments play an important role in the health of prisoners. How they respond to imprisonment is partially dependent upon how effectively they integrate into an institution’s social structure, learn to fit in with others and adapt to and cope with becoming detached from society, community and family ‐ hence, how they personally manage the transition from free society to a closed carceral community. This paper reports on findings of an ethnography conducted in an adult male training prison in England, which used participant observation, group interviewing, and one‐to‐one semi‐structured interviews with prisoners and prison officers. The research explored participants’ perceptions of imprisonment, particularly with regard to how they learned to adapt to and ‘survive’ in prison and their perceptions of how prison affected their mental, social and physical well‐being. It revealed that the social world of prison and a prisoner’s dislocation from society constitute two key areas of ‘deprivation’ that can have important health impacts.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

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Book part
Publication date: 6 November 2018

Reiter Keramet

While the steep increases in rates of incarceration seen in the United States in the late twentieth century have begun to level out, one form of incarceration has seen…

Abstract

While the steep increases in rates of incarceration seen in the United States in the late twentieth century have begun to level out, one form of incarceration has seen more drastic reductions in rates of use in the 2010s: long-term solitary confinement. Across the United States, prisons that once isolated prisoners for decades at a time stand hauntingly empty. The solitary confinement reform movement provides an important lens for examining what happens when an entrenched punitive practice faces widespread and sustained criticism and reveals the multiple paradigms through which reform operates – through politics, litigation, or charismatic leadership.

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After Imprisonment
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-270-1

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Book part
Publication date: 10 October 2014

Shinichi Ishizuka

The number of reported cases for Japanese Penal Code offenses amounted to 2.5 million in 1997 and increased every year, reaching 3.6 million in 2002 and 2003. However, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The number of reported cases for Japanese Penal Code offenses amounted to 2.5 million in 1997 and increased every year, reaching 3.6 million in 2002 and 2003. However, the number decreased from 2004 to 2008 to 2.5 million. Almost throughout the same period, the number of cases and persons cleared remained comparatively steady between 1.3 and 1.5 million and 1 and 1.2 million respectively, but the latter finally fell below one million in 2011. In this chapter I describe such a rise and fall as a “Mt. Fuji-line” that appears as a mountain-shaped curve on a graph.

Design/methodology/approach

The Japanese government reacted to the increase of crimes, which was seen as a reflection of a weakened or broken security and safety. The most effective policy, it was thought therefore, was to increase the number of policemen. This policy followed the strategy of New York City, made famous by its then Mayor Giuliani, who declared “A War on Crimes” and increased the number of police officers by ten thousand to revive New York from “A Crime City.” As criminologists have experienced so-called “labeling shocks” and learned from the approach of symbolic interactionism, criminologists can no longer simply accept that statistical data reflect weakened or broken security issues. Agencies of criminal justice, especially police officers, use such data as statistical evidence to show that the crime situation got worse.

Findings

I argue that the rise and fall of crimes, especially the increasing and decreasing number of reported cases, reflects changes of crime control policies. I analyze the Mt. Fuji-line from 1998 to 2011. The increase of crimes as well as the weakened or broken security and safety functioned as evidence that justified the reinforcement of police power and a new criminal justice shift for a lay judge system in the rising phase (1998–2003). Since the concept of a bigger justice system needs, however, lots of personnel and material sources, the Japanese government eventually gave up sustaining it. Agencies used their discretion to skip petty crimes and divert suspects because of a reduction of excessive burdens and inappropriate prison population, but they stepped into a new stage to adjust their burdens, keeping their own empowered framework of criminal justice system. These changing policies resulted in the reduction of crime in a falling phase (2004–2011).

Originality/value

These phenomena are explained from the viewpoint of Jürgen Habermas’ crisis theory. I conclude that the framework and capacity of the Japanese criminal justice system grew far bigger and that original functions of crime control through criminal procedure became weaker by being outsourced to other peripheral social systems and agencies. Thus the crime control system has been successful in bringing about a net-widening effect.

Details

Punishment and Incarceration: A Global Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-907-2

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Book part
Publication date: 16 March 2021

David Honeywell

Abstract

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The Ambiguities of Desistance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-786-0

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2017

Azrini Wahidin and Jason Powell

The purpose of this paper is to critically explore the importance of the experiences of female former combatants during the Irish Conflict, colloquially known as “The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to critically explore the importance of the experiences of female former combatants during the Irish Conflict, colloquially known as “The Troubles” and outline key moments of resistance for female political prisoners during their time at Armagh jail. The paper will situate the analysis within a Foucauldian framework drawing on theoretical tools for understanding power, resistance and subjectivity to contextualise and capture rich narratives and experiences. What makes a Foucauldian analysis of former female combatants of the Conflict so inspiring is how the animation and location of problems of knowledge as “pieces” of the larger contest between The State, institutions of power and its penal subjects (ex-female combatants as prisoners). The paper has demonstrated that the body exists through and in culture, the product of signs and meanings, of discourse and practices.

Design/methodology/approach

This is primarily qualitative methodology underpinned by Foucauldian theory. There were 28 women and 20 men interviewed in the course of this research came from across Ireland, some came from cities and others came from rural areas. Some had spent time in prisons in the UK and others served time in the Republic of Ireland or in the North of Ireland. Many prisoners experienced being on the run and all experienced levels of brutality at the hands of the State. Ethical approval was granted from the Queens University Research Committee.

Findings

This paper only examines the experiences of female ex-combatants and their narratives of imprisonment. What this paper clearly shows through the narratives of the women is the gendered nature of imprisonment and the role of power, resilience and resistance whilst in prison in Northern Ireland. The voices in this paper disturb and interrupt the silence surrounding the experiences of women political prisoners, who are a hidden population, whilst in prison.

Research limitations/implications

In terms of research impact, this qualitative research is on the first of its kind to explore both the experiential and discursive narratives of female ex-combatants of the Irish Conflict. The impact and reach of the research illustrates how confinement revealed rich theoretical insights, drawing from Foucauldian theory, to examine the dialectical interplay between power and the subjective mobilisation of resistance practices of ex-combatants in prison in Northern Ireland. The wider point of prison policy and practice not meeting basic human rights or enhancing the quality of life of such prisoners reveals some of the dystopian features of current prison policy and lack of gender sensitivity to female combatants.

Practical implications

It is by prioritising the voices of the women combatants in this paper that it not only enables their re-positioning at the centre of the struggle, but also moves away methodologically from the more typical sole emphasis on structural conditions and political processes. Instead, prioritising the voices of the women combatants places the production of subjectivities and agencies at the centre, and explores their dialectical relationship to objective conditions and practical constraints.

Social implications

It is clear from the voices of the female combatants and in their social engagement in the research that the prison experience was marked specifically by assaults on their femininity, to which they were the more vulnerable due to the emphasis on sexual modesty within their socialisation and within the ethno-nationalist iconography of femininity. The aggression directed against them seems, in part, to have been a form of gender-based sexual violence in direct retaliation for the threat posed to gender norms by their assumption of the (ostensibly more powerful) role as combatants. They countered this by methods which foregrounded their collective identity as soldiers and their identification with their male comrades in “the same struggle”.

Originality/value

This paper is one of the first to explore the importance of the experiences of female former combatants during the Northern Irish Conflict with specific reference to their experience of imprisonment. The aim of this significant paper is to situate the critical analysis grounded in Foucauldian theory drawing on theoretical tools of power, resistance and subjectivity in order to make sense of women’s experiences of conflict and imprisonment in Ireland. It is suggested that power and resistance need to be re-appropriated in order to examine such unique gendered experiences that have been hidden in mainstream criminological accounts of the Irish Conflict.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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