CJ presents: Katharina Maier (University of Toronto)

Mon. Dec. 11 09:55 AM - Mon. Dec. 11 10:55 AM
Contact: Dr. Kevin Walby 786-9105
Location: Room 2M70

CJ presents: "Canada’s ‘Open Prisons’: Prisoner Reentry, Halfway Houses, and Ex-Prisoners’ Narratives of Freedom and Confinement"

This study analyzes the role, form, and function of halfway houses in contemporary Canadian punishment, as experienced by halfway house residents and workers. Drawing on studies of Nordic open prisons and ’penal exceptionalism,’ Ms. Maier argues that rather than within the currently emphasized context of prisoner reentry, criminologists ought to study and conceive of halfway houses as a Canadian form of open prison. The term open prison is more reflective of halfway houses’ particular workings and dynamics, specifically the ways in which these houses—similarly to Nordic open prisons—confine and control residents' movements, activities, and choices via a mixture of curfews, rules, and softer forms of penal power. Moreover, she suggests that the term open prison is more productive. Conceptually, it positions halfway houses in opposition to walled (or closed) prisons, thereby redirecting academic attention from the post-prison stage to a broader examination and critique of the prison and penal system.