At Work in the Iron Cage: The Prison as Gendered by Dana M. Britton

By Dana M. Britton

Whilst most folks ponder prisons, they think chaos, violence, and essentially, an environment of overwhelming brute masculinity. yet genuine prisons not often healthy the “Big condo” stereotype of renowned movie and literature. One 5th of all correctional officials are ladies, and the speed at which ladies are imprisoned is growing to be speedier than that of fellows. but, regardless of expanding numbers of ladies prisoners and officials, rules approximately felony lifestyles and felony paintings are sill ruled by way of an exaggerated snapshot of men’s prisons the place inmates supposedly fight for actual dominance.In a unprecedented comparative research of men’s and women’s prisons, Dana Britton identifies the criteria that impact the gendering of the yank office, a approach 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 day by day paintings studies. Combining criminology, penology, and feminist idea, she deals an intensive new argument for the patience of gender inequality in prisons and different businesses. At paintings within the Iron Cage demonstrates the significance of the criminal as a website of gender family in addition to social keep an eye on.

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Extra resources for At Work in the Iron Cage: The Prison as Gendered Organization

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As one of its authors, Brockway welcomed the opportunity to put these principles into action at Elmira. The “Elmira system” was composed of several parts. Upon admission, inmates were interviewed by 36 | Penology in America Brockway, who used information about their lives and crimes to determine the “root cause” of their criminality. He then assigned them an educational class, an industry, and a cell (Elmira housed inmates in cell blocks rather than cottages). Inmates worked during the day (later in the institution’s history, when prison labor was banned, mandatory military drills were substituted) and attended classes during the evenings.

This was predicated not only on the history of abuse of female inmates by male keepers but also on the assumption that women could best be rehabilitated by members of their own sex, who would set a proper example and be able to instruct inmates in domestic pursuits. Some state administrators initially resisted this demand, at first denying that women were abused by male staff and then arguing that women officers and administrators would be too weak to control female inmates. State administrators were eventually convinced by the early successes of a number of female-run prisons in Europe, and by the end of the nineteenth century, most of the newly established state women’s reformatories were administered by exclusively female staff (Freedman 1981).

Beyond this key difference, however, the two systems organized penitentiary discipline around the same three central tenets of separation, obedience, and labor (Colvin 1997; Dumm 1987; Rothman 1990). 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.

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