The Influence of Stereotypes on Vocational Programming for Women Inmates

Pamela J. Schram, California State Univ., San Bernardino

Within Western cultures, women have been stereotyped into dichotomized images of "good" or "bad". They have also been stereotyped as having limitations or negative traits due to their gender. Several criminologists have argued that these cultural stereotypes of women have been reflected and perpetuated by the criminal justice system as well. In this vein, the criminal justice system is a system of social control. If the criminal justice system is an agent of social control, and stereotypes have permeated the criminal justice system, then to what extent are stereotypes a form of social control over female inmates? This paper explores how these stereotypes can influence women in the criminal justice system. The discussion specifically focuses on how these stereotypes can influence the types of vocational programs offered to women prisoners.

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Updated 05/20/2006