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Examining criminal justice and detention policies from a gender and feminist perspective

Gender
Policy Analysis
Public Policy
Feminism
Comparative Perspective
Policy Implementation
State Power
Policy-Making
P147
ANA BALLESTEROS
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
María Bustelo
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Amy G. Mazur
Sciences Po Paris

Abstract

As several decades of gender analysis have shown, gender equality is a contested concept. Since the very moment of its birth as an institution for punishing people, prison has proven to also be a very controversial institution, jointly with other more recent coercive tools, such as immigration detention facilities. In this panel, we are going to analyse the interaction of these two complex fields, in other words, we will start to tease out what happens when gender equality policies interact with confinement and coercive practices. This sector of public intervention that we call “criminal justice and detention policies” has been highly overlooked by feminist approaches. For criminal justice and detention policies, we understand the set of public interventions that use different legal mechanisms to control, detain, supervise and punish people and that, as a result, involve restrictions of rights, freedom and mobility. Although these policies have clear gender implications, the burgeoning research in feminist policy analysis have paid very limited attention to this realm. Since the 1970s, feminist scholars have examined the policy process from multiple angles and considering different sectors. After an initial interest in the formulation phase that has offered fruitful insights for the understanding of how gender equality policies are adopted, we are currently witnessing a turning towards the analysis of post-adoption, involving the analysis of implementation and evaluation. In spite of the existence of this body of literature, very little has been said so far about the manner in which gender has been considered within the policies involving a coercive component. With this panel, we would like to start covering this gap by teasing out the particular complexities and paradoxes of promoting gender equality when it is pursued within the framework of coercive policies. We will analyze both gender equality initiatives implemented within the framework of criminal justice and detention policies and those that explore the gender implications of criminal justice and detention policies. Geographically, we will focus both on the Global North and the Global South and the panel will consider different phases of the policy process: from adoption to post-adoption. We share a broad understanding about criminal justice and detention policies in which we include public policies related to punishment and the penal field, social control, border control and restrictions of rights and mobility, such as the penal and penitentiary system, immigration detention and criminalization of certain groups of population. The panel will boost empirical and comparative analyses to stimulate discussions on conceptual and analytical tools that contribute to a better understanding of the formulation, implementation and impacts of this particular set of policies on gender equality.

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