Women in prison. Protecting women's human rights in the hypermasculine prison context

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Panneel, Margot
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Throughout history, men have always made up the vast majority of the prison population, with the result that prison as an institution has organised itself around a male norm. Ever since the introduction of imprisonment as a way of punishment, female prisoners have been incarcerated in prisons that are not designed for them and neglect their gender-specific needs, leading them to often have a thougher time within prison than male prisoners. The current prison context is rooted in patriarchal conceptions of society that are completely outdated, reinforcing hypermasculine, heteronormative, cisnormative, gender binary views, making it very difficult for (trans) female prisoners to find their way in this environment. The lack of focus on gendersensitive policies in prisons leads to the continuous undermining of the (human) rights of female prisoners and trans prisoners. Fortunately, the international level is not blind to these issues. Several international and regional instruments have already recognised the specific position in which female prisoners find themselves, which differs in many ways from that of a male prisoner, yet the situation in practice seems far from perfect. This thesis aims to draw additional attention to this issue in the hope that (trans) women prisoners will have their human rights recognised in the future.
Second semester University: University of Galway
prison, women, gender discrimination, prisoners