Margaret Malloch

For more than two decades, there has been an ongoing critique of penal responses to women in the criminal justice system.

Calls to reduce the female prison population have been many, and attempts at reform have been ongoing.In Scotland, a recent decision to halt the building of a new 300-350 bed prison for women was widely welcomed, although in the aftermath, the potential for alternative resources appears to be creating something of a conundrum.Despite all the academic, policy and activist research over these decades, the options for radical alternatives seem vague and contested.

This paper seeks to draw on utopian traces, existing in the present and drawn from the past, to consider what a radical alternative for women requires in practice and, what could be implemented to address ‘social harm’ in this gendered context. Looking outside the criminal justice system, the impulses of critical feminist theory are examined to consider what is required for a just society for women.

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Margaret Malloch