Criminalizing Women

Gender and (In)justice in Neoliberal Times

Edited by Gillian Balfour and Elizabeth Comack  

Paperback $39.95

This book introduces readers to the key issues addressed by feminists in their engagement with criminology over the past four decades. It explores the narratives of women’s lives as “errant females,” sex trade workers, “gang” members and drug traffickers to map out the connections between the choices women make and the conditions of their lives. It shows how criminalized women and girls have been disciplined, managed, corrected and punished as prisoners, patients, mothers and victims through imprisonment, medicalization and secure care. And it considers the feminist strategies that have been used to address the conditions inside women’s prisons, to defend criminalized women’s human rights and to draw attention to the systemic abuses against poor and racialized women.

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  • Introduction
  • The Feminist Engagement with Criminology (Elizabeth Comack)
  • II. MAKING CONNECTIONS: Class/Race/Gender Intersections
  • Introduction (Elizabeth Comack)
  • Sluts and Slags: The Censuring of the “Erring Female” (Joanne C. Minaker)
  • The In-Call Sex Industry: Reflections of Classed and Gendered Labour on the Margins (Chris Bruckert and Colette Parent)
  • Surviving Colonization: Anishinaabe Ikwe and Gang Participation (Nahanni Fontaine)
  • Representations of Women in the Drug Trade (Susan C. Boyd)
  • Introduction (Gillian Balfour)
  • Charlotte’s Story Revisited: The Criminal and Psychiatric Control of Women (Robert Menzies and Dorothy E. Chunn)
  • From Villain to Victim: Secure Care and Young Women Involved in Prostitution (Steven Bittle)
  • From Welfare Fraud to Welfare as Fraud: The Criminalization of Poverty (Dorothy E. Chunn and Shelley A.M. Gavigan)
  • Therapeutic Programming as a Regulatory Practice in Women’s Prisons (Shoshana Pollack)
  • Empowering Risk: The Nature of Gender-Responsive Strategies (Kelly Hannah-Moffat)
  • Passing the Buck: Transcarceral Regulating of Criminalized Women (MaDonna R. Maidment)
  • Introduction (Gillian Balfour)
  • Are Women’s Rights Worth the Paper They’re Written On? Collaborating to Enforce the Human Rights of Criminalized Women (Gayle Horii, Debra Parkes, and Kim Pate)
  • Making Change in Neoliberal Times (Laureen Snider)


  • Gillian Balfour

    Trent University

    Gillian Balfour is Associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Trent University.

    Gillian recently completed a PhD in sociology at the University of Manitoba where she examined the role of lawyers in the criminalization of men and women accused of violent crimes. Her PhD research examined the practice of law as a social act that is constrained and enabled by socio-political interests of “law and order,” professional codes of conduct, and the identities of victims and offenders and the meaning of violence that are encoded with stereotypes of whiteness, Indianness, dangerousness, poverty, heterosexuality, femininity and masculinity.

    Her research interests include law reforms in the areas of domestic and sexual violence, women, crime and social justice, feminist criminology and Aboriginal peoples in the criminal justice system. Gillian teaches Sociology of Law, Feminist Criminology and Introductory Sociology.

  • Elizabeth Comack

    University of Manitoba

    Elizabeth Comack is a professor of Sociology at the University of Manitoba. Over the past three decades she has written and conducted research on a variety of social justice topics. Her most recent work is Coming Back to Jail: Women, Trauma, and Criminalization. Elizabeth’s current research projects stem from her involvement in the Manitoba Research Alliance’s SSHRC Partnership project, “Partnering for Change: Community-Based Solutions for Aboriginal and Inner-City Poverty.” Elizabeth leads the Justice, Safety, and Security stream of the project.

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