Whores And Thieves of the Worst Kind: A Study of Women, Crime, And Prisons, 1835-2000

Front Cover
Northern Illinois University Press, Feb 28, 2006 - History - 342 pages
1 Review

Prostitutes, shoplifters, vagrants, murderesses—Dodge tracks the history of such "improper" women as she explores the history of female incarceration in Illinois from 1835 to the present. In court and in prison, these women—some who are considered beyond all hope of reformation—have received vastly different treatment than their male counterparts.

A woman's fate in court often hung on officials' estimates of her moral and sexual reputation. Alleged promiscuity, illegitimate births, venereal disease, interracial relationships, or use of alcohol could condemn her in the eyes of judge and jury. Ethnic and social prejudice played a role, too, as most incarcerated women poor, workingclass, immigrants, or members of a racial minority.

In women's prisons, the slightest misbehavior—from poor table manners to inappropriate dress—could lead to disciplinary action. Guards vigilantly monitored female friendships, suspecting lesbianism in the most innocent acts. Instead of creating docile and dutiful subjects, such treatment stirred resistance among the prisoners and fostered a powerful inmate subculture.

Highly readable yet theoretically sophisticated, "Whores and Thieves of the Worst Kind" provides a striking collective portrait of incarcerated women. Drawn from extensive primary sources, the voices of female prisoners emerge powerfully and poignantly as individuals tell their stories.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Whores and Thieves of the Worst Kind: A Study of Women, Crime, and Prisons, 1835-2000

User Review  - Ja - Goodreads

I'm biased. I think Dr. Dodge is great. Read full review

Related books

Contents

One Female Prisoner Is of More Trouble than Twenty Males
24
For God Sake Your Honor Let Me out of Here
38
The Social Construction of Crime and Criminality
67
Copyright

12 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

L. Mara Dodge, at one time a college instructor within the Illinois prison system, is Assistant Professor of History at Westfield State College in Massachusetts.

Bibliographic information