The Australian Criminal Justice System Women

In reference to the discipline conditions in men's prisons Little affirms (1994:182) that "In men's prisons the difference between the severity of the punishment and the triviality of the offence is often extraordinary. " He states that men in prison can be disciplined for petty offences as well, "It all depends on how the custodial staff are feeling that day.

" This unpredictability and discrepancy between punishment and crime can be parallelled to the experience of women in prison but one of the major differences in discipline between men and women can be seen as the frequent disciplining for mostly trivial offences, which does not seem to occur as frequently in the men's prison as the women's as noted by the study in Texas and New South Wales. Disciplinary procedures at women's prisons in both the United States and Australia reflect a much harsher and pettier regime than that of men's prisons. Women are more likely to be cited for infractions that would scarcely be tolerated at a male prison.

Because of this, it can be noted that women are not punished as if they were men as the day-to-day regime of rules and regulations is more strict and infantile in nature. If women were punished as if they were men, they would be served with less infractions of a pettier nature and instead live under a prison regime that is not as strict in nature or practice. As stated in the a previous paragraph historical views of male and female criminality have shaped the way women's and men's prisons have been architecturally designed in regards to look, feel and purpose.

The architectural design of the male prison has been traditionally based upon the belief that the male criminal is aggressive and dangerous (Giallombardo 1966:6). High retaining walls and looming gun towers were a norm at many male prisons and still are today (Weiss & South 1998:76). The woman's prison however, was distinctively different. Giallombardo (1966:8) describes the women's prison as a place that surrounded the inmates, with many of the so-called good influences of domesticity, these included small home like residencies, individual rooms and decentralized kitchens.

Giallombardo (1966:7) states that the goals of reforming women back into society as good mothers and housekeepers had important consequences for the formal organisation of the prison and the task, which was to train women to occupy roles in society as mothers and homemakers, was best accomplished under conditions, which approach home life. Chesney-Lind and Pasko (2004:159) agree and state that even today, women's prisons have architectural differences compared to men's, such as smaller living units and decentralized kitchens in recognition of traditional gender roles.

Zaitzow (2003:23) points out that on the surface, most women's prisons are more attractive than men's are. Some have been converted from country mansions, children's homes and farms and the obvious aspect of security (such as gun towers) are often lacking. An example of this is the architecture The Federal Reformatory for Women in the United States in keeping with the principles of reformatories for women, the cottages there are built to operate as an independent unit with complete kitchen equipment, dinning room, living room, library and individual rooms for every inmate.

" (Weiss & South 1998:76) An inmates perspective of The Federal Reformatory for Women, "When I came through the gate, I said to myself "this is a prison" all the trees and flowers I couldn't believe it, it looked like a college with the buildings the trees and all the flowers" (Weiss & South 1998:76). In Victoria the Dame Phyllis Frost women's prison accommodation is explained as "cottage accommodation each unit has individual kitchen and dining facilities, prisoners are required to cook and prepare their own meals do their washing ironing and general house work.

Compare this to the Marngoneet Correctional Centre for men also in Victoria, " Accommodation,… forty beds cellular style… all meals supplied cell cleanliness inmates responsibility… clean clothes provided during morning muster. " (Victorian Department of Justice 2006) Even though this is one comparison of two prisons out of many in Australia currently in the system, it does serve to note that there is a distinct difference in the design of these two prisons present in today's prison system and that the design of women's prisons to promote domesticity is not just as thing of the past.

Most women's prisons in Australia and the United States have distinct difference in architecture and style compared to men's prisons. This is a result of how women offenders were seen traditionally, and especially how it was understood to best reform a female offender. In regards to prison architecture women are not punished as if they are men, as their accommodation in most parts differs especially in living arrangements, most women prisons opting for the cottage or dormitory type accommodation over the cellblock.

Most women's prisons also have self-sustaining units were women are required to cook and clean for themselves something of a rarity in the male prison system. This again can be brought back to the traditional views of domesticity instilled from times past in the reformation process of female offenders. In the prisons of the United States and Australia, women are punished differently to men. In most regards, women are not punished as if they were men they are in fact punished as if they are women.

This is a result of the social constructs evident in the early nineteenth century about the female offender's deviancy and the need to be protected and cured by being brought back into domesticity not punished. It can be seen that women are punished differently to men through the availability and validity of educational programs in men and women's prisons. Men have a greater variety and relevancy of programs available to them whilst in prison. Women on the other hand have inadequate access to programs that instil them in gender roles and have the potential to be irrelevant to their rehabilitation once released.

It can also be seen that women are punished differently to men through a scrutiny of their disciplinary procedures. Unlike men, women are more likely to be incited more times and for pettier infractions than men are. You can even go as far to say that if the same disciplinary procedures were applied to men they would surely riot. Lastly, it can be seen that women are punished as women not men in regards to prison architecture. There are noticeable differences in a way a women's prison is constructed and set out most of the time opting for self-sustaining cottages over cellblocks, which are a normative feature of the male penitentiary.