By Dana M. Britton
Whilst most folks ponder prisons, they think chaos, violence, and essentially, an environment of overwhelming brute masculinity. yet actual prisons hardly ever healthy the “Big condominium” stereotype of well known movie and literature. One 5th of all correctional officials are ladies, and the speed at which girls are imprisoned is growing to be quicker than that of fellows. but, regardless of expanding numbers of ladies prisoners and officials, principles approximately legal existence and felony paintings are sill ruled through an exaggerated photo of men’s prisons the place inmates supposedly fight for actual dominance.In an extraordinary comparative research of men’s and women’s prisons, Dana Britton identifies the criteria that impact the gendering of the yankee office, a method that regularly leaves ladies in lower-paying jobs with much less status and responsibility.In interviews with dozens of female and male officials in 5 prisons, Britton explains how gender shapes their daily paintings reviews. Combining criminology, penology, and feminist idea, she bargains an intensive new argument for the endurance of gender inequality in prisons and different corporations. At paintings within the Iron Cage demonstrates the significance of the legal as a domain of gender relatives in addition to social keep watch over.
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Additional resources for At Work in the Iron Cage: The Prison as Gendered Organization
Reformers advocated separation because they believed that prisoners who were allowed to associate with one another confirmed their own bad habits while at the same time acquiring new ones. The doctrine of obedience was rooted in the belief that criminals were the products of disordered lives. A Pennsylvania prison commission in 1835 contended that convicts are “men of idle habits, vicious propensities, and depraved passions” (quoted in Rothman 1990: 102) who had failed to learn respect for limits.
Criminal women, unlike their male counterparts, were beyond redemption, by nature corrupt, and outside the reach of the disciplinary regime of the penitentiary. Even the rehabilitated subject was implicitly male. The goal of penitentiary discipline was to reconstitute the “ideal” citizen as the atomized individual presumed by the social contractarian ideals at the heart of liberal democracy. Yet women stand in an ambivalent relationship to the social contract and to citizenship itself. Liberal theorists did not view women as free and equal subjects in their own right.
Such imposition destroys every better impulse and aspiration. It crushes the weak, irritates the strong, and indisposes all to submission and reform. It is trampling where we ought to raise, and is therefore as unchristian in principle as well as it is unwise in policy. (Quoted in Pisciotta 1994: 158) Brockway explicitly claimed that the aim of the Elmira system was to turn inmates into “Christian gentlemen” (quoted in Piscotta 1994: 18). It also sought to transform its charges into breadwinners, offering many male-dominated trades.
At Work in the Iron Cage: The Prison as Gendered Organization by Dana M. Britton