For the first time in four decades, prison populations are declining and politicians have reached the consensus that mass imprisonment is no longer sustainable. At this unique moment in the history of corrections, the opportunity has emerged to discuss in meaningful ways how best to shape efforts to control crime and to intervene effectively with offenders. This breakthrough book brings together established correctional scholars to imagine what this prison future might entail. Each scholar uses his or her expertise to craft—in an accessible way for students to read—a blueprint for how to create a new penology along a particular theme. For example, one contributor writes about how to use existing research expertise to create a prison that is therapeutic and another provides insight on how to create a “feminist” prison. In the final chapter the editors pull together the “lessons learned” in a cohesive, comprehensive essay.

The Feminist Prison

The Feminist Prison

The feminist prison
Kristi Holsinger

Editors' Introduction

Women's experience in prisons has always been defined by their otherness. They were and are the “other” when compared to the much more numerous male offenders. In patriarchal societies that valued women as lesser than their male counterparts, this “otherness” only exacerbated their less powerful and less noticeable status. In the first prisons built in this country, women were relegated to small sections and assigned kitchen, laundry, or sewing duties. They were subject to sexual assault by male staff and inmates in such facilities.

Once moved to their own facilities, which did not happen in most states until later in the 1800s or early 1900s, their female staff were often ...

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