Engagé vis-à-vis de ces femmes, cet article décrira les origines des prisons québécoises et canadiennes pour femmes et tracera un portrait des détenues afin de répondre à cette question fondamentale : est-ce que la femme criminelle et particulièrement la femme emprisonnée est un inconvénient social ?
The authors recall the origins of the two prisons for women in Quebec (Tanguay and Gomin) and of the one at Kingston in Ontario, They describe the sociological data of the prisoners and their need for institutional security. They then criticize the existing institutional programs and the high degree of security imposed on the prisoners, neither of which correspond to their actual needs. Why these deficiencies ? The prison authorities justify their lack of response by the fact that the out-of-province prisoners are dangerous and by the fact that their small number does not justify the heavy investments required to circumvent the problem. The authors finally describe the negative consequences of the internment on the prisoners and propose tentative solutions to the existing situation.