Justice for Women: A Penal Utopia?



Malloch M (2016) Justice for Women: A Penal Utopia?. Justice, Power and Resistance, Foundation Volume, pp. 151-169.

For more than two decades, there has been an ongoing critique of penal responses to women in the criminal justice system.  Calls to reduce the female prison population have been many, and attempts at reform have been ongoing. In Scotland, a recent decision to halt the building of a new 300-350 bed prison for women was widely welcomed, although in the aftermath of this decision, the potential of ‘alternative’ resources appears to be creating something of a conundrum. Despite all the academic, policy and activist research over these decades, the options for radical responses seem vague and contested.  This paper reflects upon utopian traces, existing in the present and drawn from the past, to consider what a radical ‘alternative’ for women requires in practice and, what could be implemented to address ‘social harm’ in this gendered context. Looking outside the criminal justice system, the impulses of critical feminist theory are examined to consider what is required for a ‘just society’ for women.

Justice, Power and Resistance: Volume Foundation Volume

Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online09/2016
Date accepted by journal31/03/2016
PublisherEG Press
Publisher URL…r-and-resistance

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Professor Margaret Malloch

Professor Margaret Malloch

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology