Women are the fastest growing group of incarcerated people in Canada. While feminist criminologists advocate for community alternatives to imprisonment, they often do so without offering a corresponding analysis of existing community programs. And critical criminologists rarely consider gender in their assessment of the options.
A Better Justice? brings these criminological strands together in a concise and carefully reasoned analysis of alternative justice programs for criminalized women. Using Winnipeg as a test case, Amanda Nelund draws on staff interviews and agency and program documents to reveal the complexity that underlies the governance of criminalized women. She finds that alternative programs neither fully reproduce dominant justice system norms nor provide the complete alternatives called for by feminist criminologists. Instead, formal and informal practices and governing mentalities reflect a tension between neoliberal and social justice approaches.
A Better Justice? calls attention to the potential that alternative programs have for both alignment with and opposition to current criminal justice norms. It is in the potential points of resistance that we can find improved strategies for the treatment of criminalized women in Canada – and ultimately, greater social justice for them.
Students and scholars of feminist and critical criminology, socio-legal studies, and gender and women’s studies will find this perceptive work indispensable, as will criminal justice researchers and practitioners.
While much feminist criminological research in Canada focuses on women’s experiences in Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal, A Better Justice? adds an important Prairie-centric analysis. By documenting and examining community-based efforts to assist criminalized women in the city of Winnipeg, Nelund considers how front-line organizations attempt to imagine and do justice differently in Canada.
Amanda Nelund is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at MacEwan University. With Andrew Woolford, she co-authored the second edition of The Politics of Restorative Justice: A Critical Introduction, and she is a co-editor of Violence Interrupted: Confronting Sexual Violence on University Campuses.
Contemporary Processes of Criminalization
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