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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 120663 Find in a Library
Title: Persephone Claimed: Parity or Equality in Women's Prisons?
Journal: Prison Journal  Volume:69  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring-Summer 1989)  Pages:88-102
Author(s): P A Wheeler; R Trammell; J Thomas; J Findlay
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 15
Document: PDF
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Despite the assumptions of equal protection legal theories, attempts to establish parity (quantitative sameness) between men's and women's prisons may hamper, rather than facilitate, the goal of equality (qualititative sameness).
Abstract: The use of law, the role of jailhouse lawyers, and legal orientation differs between men and women. And because most litigation is done by men, the resultant problem resolution may be inappropriate for women. The "different voice" in which women speak reflects an alternative moral and global perspective. The male "Portia model" is based on "justice as fairness" while the female "Persephone model" is based on "justice as caring." These differences are reflected in the actions taken by male and female jailhouse lawyers (JHLs) and the conduits between prisoners and the courts. The clerical data used in this study, collected from a women's prison with an inmate population of about 750, consists of daily contacts, the reason for contacts, the number and nature of legal actions pursued, their outcome, and the number of clerk-hours spent on attending to women's legal needs. The bulk of women's legal needs are related to their incarceration but not directly to the proceedings of their original convictions, to addressing specific problems at the institution, and, in the civil arena, to divorce proceedings and other family matters. On the other hand, the evidence suggests that men are more likely to litigate as a means of attacking prison policies or practices. Male and female JHLs seem to need different qualities to succeed; female JHLs often serve nonlegal functions such as developing child visitation programs, counseling women experiencing the emotional trauma of incarceration, and resolving institutional grievances. Female JHLs tend to become more emotionally involved with their clients, and spend the bulk of their time counseling and interviewing women inmates. The feminist view of justice held by the authors would require modifying the application of universal rules with evaluative ones recognizing the differences between male and female offenders. 3 tables, 8 footnotes, 36 references.
Main Term(s): Female inmates; Inmate grievances
Index Term(s): Inmate peer counseling; Jailhouse lawyers
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