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Sentencing Alternatives For Women: Options For a Woman-Centered Justice Model’s Sentencing Component

Evans, Jane
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) M. A. Dissertation, UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA (CANADA).

This thesis focuses on justice and women’s groups perceptions regarding the possibility of a woman-centered justice model. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with eight representatives from Canadian justice and women’s groups. The benefits and limitations of three justice models: community corrections, restorative justice, and transformative justice are discussed with relation to sentencing women in conflict with the law. The traditional criminal justice system and present justice models do not adequately address the needs of either women or men; therefore, fundamental changes to the system are needed. Although it is recognized that men would also benefit from a new approach to sentencing, only the possibility of a woman-centered justice model that looks at sentencing women is discussed. The justice and women’s groups’ respondents argue that non-carceral sentences should be used for all women who do not pose a threat of violence to themselves or the public. Another theme that emerged from these interviews was that a woman-centered justice model might be too narrow an approach to deal with the individualized needs of women. Therefore, a woman-centered justice model’s sentencing component should be based on a transformative model which addresses the social, political, and economic realities of women as well as tailor its sentencing program to meet the specific needs of each sentenced woman. There was no consensus among the representatives regarding the nature of a proposed separate system for women. The author proposes that the present system be changed to allow for a woman-centered sentencing model which is based on transformative justice principles.


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