The creation of the prison in the xixth century cannot be dissociated from the misery and distress it inflicts on a group of men, women and children who are already (in various ways) in a minority position in society. Reform after reform of Quebec prisons over more than a hundred years have not created a milieu without this misery and distress as though these were an inherent part of prison life itself. How, then, explain the persistance in wanting to keep such an institution whose objective was the moral rectification of the individual and insisted on rehabilitating him ?
The demand for the right of prisoners to vote has a history that shows how there has never been a right, a freedom, that was recognized without a social, political and legal fight. Rights and freedoms that are not won and whose exercice is not assured remain but words, perhaps merely dreams.
Taken from a qualitative empirical study on the experience of women condemned to life imprisonment, this article questions the use ofpsychotropic medication for purposes of self-control or the control of others. Concerned are the reasons contributing to the demand for and prescription of mood-altering drugs in prisons for women, the stakes involved in their use, and the need to take into account the conditions of detention as well as correctional and medical practices in the search for alternative solutions.
Discussion of prisoners' rights has often been the centre of attention over the past twenty years or so. While it can help in denouncing the abuse of authority, it is a different matter when it is a question of analyzing the violence between prisoners that is one of the major characteristics of the prison today. It has tended to take refuge in a legalism that leaves no room for more concrete human considerations. By rallying the abolitionists, it has helped to discredit the reeducational prisons that in the sixties were trying to give the prison milieu a more humane image. The outcome is very uncertain.
This letter deals with two major questions. The first shows how the “program” of criminology which emerged in the 19th century contributes to a neutralisation of the impact of discussions concerning human rights in the case of punishment. To do this, the author compares two paradigms of penal reform. The second question tries to clarify the relations established in Quebec between the rights of prisoners and abolitionist alternatives from 1975 on.
Over the past twenty or so years, more and more linguists have been called upon to give evidence in U.S. and Canadian Courts. The fields in which they have provided testimony include that of socidinguistic analysis based on the link-up between language and society. The evidence they provide of the testimony between the socio-economic background of an accused person and his or her linguistic production may, for example, determine the validity of a confession or the justification for a libellous statement attributed to the accused. However, the lawyer who is familiar with and can master the various social connotations associated with the various expressions used in court will have a major advantage when it comes to encouraging a witness to speak out, or convincing the judge and jury of the credibility of what he or she tells them.