The second facility was informed that she was drunk, yelling, and spitting. A Cell Extraction Team met her upon arrival. She claimed that they roughly removed her from the vehicle and immediately applied a spit hood that nearly entirely obscured her vision. The Team then allegedly handcuffed her in a bent-over position, handled her forcefully, and threatened her with a Taser. The all-male team took her to a room where she was made to lie on her stomach and was strip-searched. Her pants were torn off her and an officer allegedly placed his hands on her genitals while a second allegedly groped her breasts.
Drawing on findings from prison inquiries and commissions, correctional policies and practices, news media accounts and prisoner testimonies, this article reconsiders the prevalence of violence against women in Canadian prisons. By adopting a broader conceptualization of violence, particularly as enacted and legitimated by the state, the article reveals how the prison setting generates a landscape of violence through the languages of gender and security, along with routine practices that come together to facilitate and heighten the conditions for violence to occur in seemingly, normal, benign, and necessary ways. The more violent aspects of the prison system are made less visible through routine practices and a normal politics that minimize, obscure, or ignore violence. Given its inherently violent character, we have to question the use, necessity, and relevance of incarceration to enact justice. I first acknowledge the Indigenous and non-Indigenous women and the many others in the penal system. Their courage and resilience are humbling.
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Peterborough held women from the age of 18, but as it is a resettlement prison, most women only stayed for a few weeks. The report found that 60 per cent of women had felt unsafe at some time since arriving and 28 per cent felt unsafe at the time of the inspection. The proportion of women who said they have been victimised by prisoners or staff had risen, with verbal bullying and antisocial behaviour being the main reasons for this.