oa Alternation - Prisoners are women too: a case study of women prisoners at Westville Prison

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Prisons are institutions that intrigue. Like asylums, they are defined by what Goffman (1961) referred to as their 'totally closed' nature. Incarceration and deprivation of liberty have long been thought of as deterrents to violators of the law or to potential violators of the law. As opposed to physical punishment for serious criminal offences, physical isolation came to be regarded as the solution to the problem. According to Wolfgang (1979:1), each of the rationales of punishment - revenge, retribution, expiation, deterrence, reformation and social protection - has influenced the development of others. The central point for each rationale has been the prison. While society endlessly recites themes of democracy and liberty, prisons act as constant reminders of society's foibles.

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