© 1998


Women’s Imprisonment at the Millennium


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Pat Carlen
    Pages 1-11
  3. Pat Carlen
    Pages 46-99
  4. Pat Carlen
    Pages 146-171
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 172-180

About this book


Pat Carlen's compelling and compassionate analysis of the penal control of women at the end of the twentieth century is based on new research completed in 1997. She develops many of the themes of previous work, while introducing new concepts such as 'gender-testing', and 'ameliorative justice'. Skilfully and vividly presenting the words and views of both staff and inmates of the women's prisons, Carlen presents a powerful case for both a quantitative and qualitative reduction in women's imprisonment.


gender justice research women

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Policy StudiesBath UniversityUK

About the authors

PAT CARLEN is a founder member of the campaigning group Women In Prison, she is presently Professor of Sociology at Bath University and before that was Professor of Criminology at the University of Keele where she founded, and was Head of the Department of Criminology. This is her fourteenth book discussing the relationships between social and criminal justice in general and her fifth on women, crime and imprisonment. Chief amongst the others are Women's Imprisonment 1983, Women, Crime and Poverty, 1988, and Alternatives to Women's Imprisonment 1990. Other books have been on the sociology of law, official discourse, truancy, sentencing, and magistrates' courts. In 1996 she published Jigsaw: A Political Criminology of Youth Homelessness.

Bibliographic information


' excellent and important book...Pat Carlen's hope for change before the dawn of the new millennium has not been met but thanks to her spirited, scholarly and relentless challenge to the current system we may continue to hope that one day soon we will see an end to the sledgehammer of a system of women's imprisonment; and that, in its place, we will witness the birth of a more holistic, women-wise response to girls and women in criminal trouble.' - Penny Green, British Journal of Criminology

'Sledgehammer has a significance beyond itself. At one level it is straightforwardly a criminology book and if there were prizes for the best such book in a given year, this deserves to win, hands down. But it is also a state-of-the-nation book, aptly offered for reflection on the eve of the Millennium, which says something rather sombre about the kind of country we have become...It makes its case so well that it is hard to imagine any reader not being stirred to action.' - Mike Nellis, University of Birmingham