Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (15.13 MB)

In through the out door: women and prison release in New South Wales, Australia

Download (15.13 MB)
posted on 2022-03-28, 11:46 authored by Vicki Chartrand
Since the development of the prison as the privileged mode of punishment, the penal apparatus has been diversified, fragmented, and extended in a variety of ways. Just beyond the prison there exists another domain; one that is situated in the social body but remains inscribed in penal practices and that problematizes release from its confines. In this domain, women emerge as a distinctive category for correction and, however tacitly, remain linked to a penal exercise. Using some of the analytical insights offered by Foucault, I explore how women, along with other groups such as Aboriginal women, emerge as a problem for penal thought and practice in the domain of prison release in New South Wales, Australia. I look at the historical emergence of women in this field and the practices, strategies, and discourses that shape a diverse but decisive understanding of their release into the world. Penal knowledges contemplate and manage women under the general rubric of two discourses: correction and transition. In the former, a 'criminal' title lends itself to various corrective and security measures that problematize women within categories of instability and vulnerability; the latter notion of transition frames prison release as an adaptation process. I argue that although women on release are expected to contribute to and participate within 'normal' processes of life, they are also managed within divisive and unifying forms of knowledge that continue to circulate them within penal thought and practice. As the penal apparatus shapes and shifts in and out of social thought and practice, the relationship that exists between social and penal fields are made less visible. By focusing on the plays and mechanisms of power, I consider some of the more hidden operations of a penal exercise that continue to inform and shape social processes and how women in the penal apparatus are understood. This thesis thus contributes to an understanding of how social and penal arrangements continue to inform and facilitate diverse spaces and discourses of correction and intervention, despite efforts to reform or transform penal practices or liberate women from its exercise. Women are meshed in productive and restrictive social fields that may fragment penal operations, but nonetheless strengthen its necessity. By decentering the prison as the object and women as the subjects of analysis, I seek to disrupt and challenge the self-evidence of current understandings of penal and release schemes for women.


Alternative Title

Women and prison release in New South Wales, Australia

Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1. -- Chapter 2. -- Chapter 3. -- Chapter 4. -- Chapter 5. -- Chapter 6. -- Chapter 7. -- Conclusion -- Glossary -- Appendices -- References.


"January 2008". Bibliography: pages 225-252 "This thesis is presented for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy".

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Division of Society, Media, Culture and Philosophy, Department of Sociology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Sociology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Mitchell Dean

Additional Supervisor 1

Craig Osmond


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Vicki Chartrand 2008.






1 online resource (viii, 252 pages)

Former Identifiers

mq:30376 2115583