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Entrenching women's imprisonment: an anti-carceral critique of rights-based advocacy and reform
chapterposted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Bree Carlton, Emma K Russell
Campaigns challenging conditions in women’s imprisonment yield rich evidence of the repeated failures associated with penal reform programmes. In the Australian state of Victoria, such programmes have consistently failed to mitigate the discriminatory treatment and brutal conditions. Reforms have provided a progressive veneer, but have enabled the legitimisation and expansion of women’s imprisonment. Focused on the work of the pioneering 1982 Fairlea Research Group (FRG), this chapter takes an abolitionist position in assessing the complex relationships between rights discourse, imprisonment, reform and abolition. We show that while liberal rights-based frameworks can lay critical foundations for anti-carceral feminist activism, they provide an untenable mechanism for transforming and eliminating the violence and inequity embedded within and reproduced through the institutional structures of prisons and punishment.