Abstract EN: This paper analyses feminist initiatives to use law, particularly the criminal justice system, to heighten levels of control over men and fight partriarchy. It argues that passing new laws and increasing levels of punishment has not worked, either to strengthen individual female victims, or to build the feminist movement as a whole. Increasing punishment through criminal law means investing power in the hands of an un-monitored bureaucracy which has historically acted to promote a set of institutional, structurally based principles which are incompatible with feminist aims. The paper examines efforts to employ criminal and civil law in the struggle against patriarchy, in spheres such as rape and wife assault, and shows that inviting the state to intrude more deeply into the lives of lower and working class women has extended criminalisation and increased state control, without altering the underlying conditions which continue to create female victimization. The final section examines alternate measures to achieve feminist goals of empowerment and social transformation.
Abstract EN: This study is a theoretical and empirical analysis of the new tripartite structure of sexual offences created by the Criminal code reform of 1983 in Canada (Bill C-127). The authors analyze the reform proposals advanced by the Law Reform Commission as well as the data on reports of sexual assault in Quebec and Canada as a whole. In addition, the authors explore the actual classification practices of the criminal justice system and some of the "new " symbolic effects of the legislation.
Abstract EN: The interest in understanding and analyzing the situation of native women within the penal process is recent and seems to be limited by the inordinate attention paid by researchers to the overrepresentation of native women. This article is an account of the findings and analyses made to date in this recent sector of research. It presents an inventory of the principal data concerning the confrontation of native women with the penal process. It proposes a synthesis of the principal analyses of the problems of native women with the system of justice by presenting a critical analysis of the socio-structural model of LaPrairie.
Abstract EN: The Elizabeth Fry Society of Montreal conducted a study aimed at describing the judicial profile of women defendants from their appearance to their sentencing. This article presents the principal results of this study which concerns more than 1 500 women who appeared, in 1987, before the Quebec Criminal Court, at the Court houses at Montreal and Longueuil. Whether more than half these women are under 30 years of age, that they have never been charged before, that they are charged on one court only and of crimes against property, that they plead guilty and receive a probation order, very often the course of women through the judicial process is far from being linear. Once caught up in the system of judicial surveillance, there seems to be a sort of vicious circle established, where the system feeds the system, where the demeaning of the system becomes the offence that keeps these women within the system.
Abstract EN: Women offenders had traditionally been neglected in criminological theory as well as in empirical analyses. Feminist studies have shown that such an exclusion was not only inacceptable on a political ground but that it also shed serious doubts about the validity of criminological models. Arguing on the necessity of focussed empirical analyses for a better understanding of the dynamics of sexual identity on the nature of penal interventions, the authors have proceeded to a comparative analysis of the characteristics and penal treatment of a particular group of offenders, those that have been incarcerated in Quebec's provincial jails ten times or more during a ten year period. Results stress the complexity of the différenciation process for women and men, at least for this particular group. Women having been through repeated incarcerations are far less numerous than men. But the motives for which these women were imprisoned appear to be even more trivial than those having prompted the men's incarcerations.
Abstract EN: Some of the issues related to the incarceration of women have long been denounced and are well documented in the current literature. This article attempts to report on the recommendations of the Task Force on federally sentenced women in Canada by indicating what were the underlying influences. Thus, the proposed policy is presented as deriving from a feminist analysis of the reality of the women in prison. It is also mentioned that, for various reasons, the implementation of such a policy may not follow the course initially intended, therefore it should be cautiously supervised.
Abstract FR: Deux professeurs de l'École de criminologie de l'Université de Montréal réfléchissent sur l'évolution et les fluctuations de la criminalité. Leur débat se situe principalement autour des idées émises par Maurice Cusson dans l'une de ses plus récentes publications. Daniel Élie engage la discussion à laquelle répond ensuite l'auteur.