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Moving into the New Millenium: Toward a Feminist Vision of Justice

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 67 Issue: 2 Dated: (Fall-Winter 1987) Pages: 27-37.
M K Harris
Date Published
12 pages
This article discusses the values and principles of feminism as an approach to rethinking crime and justice issues.
The author argues that feminism should not be seen merely as a prescription for granting rights to women, but in a broader context because of the values, beliefs, and experiences it offers. Three simple beliefs among the key tenets of feminism are: (1) that all people have equal value as human beings, (2) that harmony and felicity are more important than power and possession, and (3) that the personal is the political. It is suggested that feminist beliefs be used a a guide for approaching the future in the criminal justice system. Common tendencies that must be rejected if feminist values are to be embraced are discussed. Specifically, these include the tendency toward objectification, i.e., talking and thinking about crime and criminals as if they were distinct entities in themselves; and the notion that it is acceptable to try to 'get rid of' another person through execution, banishment or caging away with others. Recommendations for changing the criminal justice system include rethinking the basis of the punishment system; recognizing that the more restrictions on an individual's chances and choices, the greater the responsibility that must be assumed for protecting that person and preserving the individual's personhood; and abandoning imprisonment in its present structure. 5 footnotes and 17 references.