Women and the penal system

  • Frances Heidensohn
Chapter
Part of the Women in Society book series (WOSO)

Abstract

Prison is still central to our system for dealing with offenders. Imprisonment has historically functioned in three ways: custodially to hold prisoners (and some witnesses) awaiting trial, coercively — for example, to secure repayment of a debt — and penally as a punishment. Historians disagree as to when the last function, which is currently the most important, developed (McConville, 1981, p. 1). What is not in doubt is that the centralised, State-run prison system to which offenders are sentenced as a punishment is a product of modern capitalist society and is less than two centuries old.

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Copyright information

© Frances Heidensohn 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frances Heidensohn

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