In the Australian Criminal Justice System Women are Treated Differently than Men
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Women throughout history have been viewed in a different sphere to men, and because of this throughout history; they have been treated differently to men in many diverse aspects of society. In the study of criminology, this can be seen with the way the female offender was viewed by society and in the ways, treatment for female offenders was administered. This issue will be explored in more detail to help understand the social constructs formed in female criminality that shape the female corrections today. Examples studied from historical and modern times will be looked at to see if women in prison are punished differently to men or if they are punished as men. Aspects of prison life will be discussed which will include the work and educational programs on offer in male and female penal institutions and differences that may occur and rules regulations and the handing out of discipline by custodial staff and wether or not it is harsher in a female institution. Differences in the general architecture and design of the male and female prisons themselves will also be looked at and sought to see if there are any major architectural differences. A major factor contributing to the way female corrections are shaped today is how the female offender and female criminality has been viewed in the past. Women offenders were traditionally seen "as more mad, than bad" and when they offended, they were perceived as being in need of care, protection and psychiatric help rather than punitive measures.
It was found in the study that women prisoners were much more likely to receive many more citations than men were and for drastically different sorts of offences. Most commonly women were cited for violation of rules, as well as this, women were more likely to receive the most severe sanctions including solitary confinement. (Chesney-Lind & Pasko 163:2004). The women in the study were cited for breaking rules that including having "too many photographs on display", "failing to eat all the food on their plates" and "talking in the pill line" (Chesney-Lind & Pasko 163:2004). Women in the study were also known to be disciplined for possession of contraband, which could include such things as an extra bra or pillowcase peppermint sticks or a borrowed comb or hat. Trafficking and trading instances of sharing shampoo in a shower and lighting another inmate's cigarette were also met with citations and punishment (163:2004 Chesney-Lind Pasko). The author of the study concluded that there existed two very different forms of surveillance and control operating in the male and female prisons the female being the much stricter of the two. Research such as this shows clear evidence than women in prison are over policed and over controlled in institutional settings and if men were controlled to the extent that women were, they would probably riot. (Chesney-Lind & Pasko 164:2004). Braithwaite, Treadwell & Arriola (2005:1678) offer supporting opinions and state that in comparison to prisons for men, rules within women's prisons tend to be greater in number and pettier in nature.
This again can be brought back to the traditional views of domesticity instilled from times past in the reformation process of female offenders. In the prisons of the United States and Australia, women are punished differently to men. In most regards, women are not punished as if they were men they are in fact punished as if they are women. This is a result of the social constructs evident in the early nineteenth century about the female offender's deviancy and the need to be protected and cured by being brought back into domesticity not punished. It can be seen that women are punished differently to men through the availability and validity of educational programs in men and women's prisons. Men have a greater variety and relevancy of programs available to them whilst in prison. Women on the other hand have inadequate access to programs that instil them in gender roles and have the potential to be irrelevant to their rehabilitation once released. It can also be seen that women are punished differently to men through a scrutiny of their disciplinary procedures. Unlike men, women are more likely to be incited more times and for pettier infractions than men are. You can even go as far to say that if the same disciplinary procedures were applied to men they would surely riot. Lastly, it can be seen that women are punished as women not men in regards to prison architecture. There are noticeable differences in a way a women's prison is constructed and set out most of the time opting for self-sustaining cottages over cellblocks, which are a normative feature of the male penitentiary.
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