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Bree Carlton Monash University. Gendered justice?  National increase of 60% among women compared to 35% among men (ABS 2010)  1999-2009: the Victorian.

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Presentation on theme: "Bree Carlton Monash University. Gendered justice?  National increase of 60% among women compared to 35% among men (ABS 2010)  1999-2009: the Victorian."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bree Carlton Monash University

2 Gendered justice?  National increase of 60% among women compared to 35% among men (ABS 2010)  : the Victorian women’s prisoner population increased by 67.9%  : women’s prisoner numbers grew by 30% Source: Department of Justice Victoria 2010

3 The issues being talked about today, we were talking about in 1985 when women were locked up at Pentridge. Muster has now grown from 20 to 350 women but nothing has changed except now there are more issues. Everyone writes recommendations, but nothing has changed. Woman with lived experience cited in VPDCPC Inquiry 2010

4 Institutional violence That’s actually the one thing where women could gain strength in prison, because away from that domestic violence they can sort of come out of themselves and regain a bit of self-esteem, regain a bit of self-respect, but not in the prison environment. It’s a very rare woman that can do it … because the system becomes the abusive partner when you get to prison. Gwen

5 Institutional racism It all goes back to the Stolen Generation and fragmentation of families that happened then … This is what bred the current crisis of young people being incarcerated, taken into care, put in prison … it’s such a cliché to say it’s the Stolen Generation all over again but it kind of is … except we’re just locking them all up in prison and juvenile justice places … Aboriginal women in prison are all products in some way of the Stolen Generation. Gwen

6 Economic marginalisation [There’s no] … addressing the traumas [inside prison] and in fact she comes out [at] higher risk …. She’s coming out to homelessness, she’s potentially lost her supports that were in place before she went in and she’s coming out with absolutely no chance really, of her having [been] rehabilitated through that time. It is a break for her body, physical break for her body … a little rest but that’s it. There’s no fixing, there’s no real rehabilitation in it whatsoever. Fiona, support worker

7 Social exclusion It’s just difficult, man, and there’s these little reminders like that every day, every day, and silent phones and empty letterboxes and fucking empty cupboards and then what is available? What you can get is some escape from this if you can go somewhere else and I suppose for the other women, the drugs take them somewhere else, and where’s the incentive to come back? Ella The loneliness is weird ‘cause, like when you’re in jail, all you want is... to be alone …. And you get out and you are alone but it’s a different... kind of aloneness. You know, like I’m in a flat, I can hear all the noises from the other flats and everything … I still don’t feel like I’m – I still feel like I exist in this separate little universe. Liz

8 Surviving marginalisation ‘But nobody addresses the underlying issues of emotional and psychological stuff that has happened to you while in custody…You are constantly in survival mode; it is a hostile environment. The things that you experience in there never get addressed.’ ‘Last time I was in prison [I was with] the grandchildren of the women I had been in prison for the first time around’. Women with lived experience cited in VPDCPC Inquiry 2010

9 Social Exclusion ‘Imprisonment becomes an easier alternative than struggling outside. There is a loss of freedom inside but at least it’s a community you know. The abuse in prison is easier than the abuse of outside, because it’s structured and stable; you know what it is, and have learnt how to detach. Outside prison is scarier, you feel hopeless’. Women with lived experience cited in VPDCPC Inquiry 2010

10 The Precariousness of survival Six months before my release I started noting down deaths...I have got all the names and it was 11. There was 11 and that was in that 15-month period that I was in prison…. People would be amazed if you told them there was only 300 women in prison in Victoria. That’s when it becomes important...Everyone in prison or post-release women would know these women… it’s a small community. I could just reel off to you now 150 of the names of 200 women in prison that we see every day...So in that sense we know them and I don’t know why it is a subject that’s not talked about. Aileen

11 I had a few moments in this last three months where I know what happened to those women; I know when they had that thought, so you’ve got 80 cents in the bank, you’ve got a crisis accommodation... You’re 23 hours with your own thoughts on your own looking maybe at the futility of your life, especially if they’re women like myself, middle-aged. I don’t want to be weak, I don’t want to be needy, but you can’t get a foothold, everything is difficult. Ella

12 The future?


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