Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
History of Women's Prisons
Women throughout history have been imprisoned with men in refuges, workhouses and houses of correction, jails, debtor's prisons, chain gangs, penitentiaries, reformatories, and correctional institutions. Even so, their presence, and not infrequently that of their babies as well, was (and is) often overlooked in official documents and historical accounts. When it has been noted, often their imprisonment has been a source of concern and controversy. Above all, the numbers of incarcerated women and the conditions of their imprisonment have reflected not only wider socioeconomic realities and changing definitions of crime and forms of punishment but also the perceived nature and position of women at the time. While there is a long history of women's imprisonment in Europe, Great Britain, and the American colonies, only in the 19th century did women begin to be incarcerated for long periods of time in facilities built for that purpose. Earlier, women and their children ...