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Voices of remanded women in Western Canada: A qualitative analysis

Daniel J. Jones, Sandra M. Bucerius, Kevin D. Haggerty


Comparatively little is known about how Canadian prisoners experience and make sense of their lives inside Canadian correctional facilities. Based on 39 qualitative in-depth interviews conducted with remanded women in a Western Canadian remand prison as part of the University of Alberta Prison Project (UAPP), this article serves to describe the five main issues that women in our sample highlighted about their incarceration and how those were shaped by their own backgrounds and life histories: 1) Victimization; 2) Distrust of the police, 3) Parenting while incarcerated; 4) Addictions and mental health; 5) Contextual benefits of prison. The implications of this work for criminal justice practitioners, policymakers, and scholars are discussed. Our findings serve to detail the commonalities between the women in an effort to provide criminal justice and social service actors with contextual background information about their clients. They show that the women lack access to the myriad social and institutional supports that so many people take for granted, including protection from physical and sexual abuse, access to stable housing, addiction support, medical and dental treatment, mental health supports, trauma counselling, and the like.


Prisons; corrections; victimization; victim-offender overlap; female prisoners; police; addictions; remand

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ISSN: 2371-4298 (Online)