In support of prisoners and prison justice activism in Canada
Criminal Histories Not So Dangerous

Joint Effort

When one examines the 'criminal' histories of women in prison it becomes apparent that women labeled as dangerous female offenders are not so dangerous. As of 1993, there were 323 women serving federal sentences in canada. That means they are sentenced to more than 2 years. Of these 323 women, 60 women are serving sentences for homicide, 56 women are serving sentences for robbery, and 68 women are serving sentences for drug related offences. Regarding those offences involving serious violence, almost all of the victims who were killed were known to the woman: in 38% of the cases the victim was a husband, common-law partner or relative, and in 49% of these cases, the victims were close friends or acquaintances.

These killings occurred in the context of long histories of abuse by partners, or in self defense during arguments or fights. Only 5% (4 victims) were strangers to the women. Moreover, one-third of federally sentenced women have no previous conviction of any kind.

Of these previous convictions, offences tend to be for minor property offences such as using a canceled credit card, or 'nuisances' crimes such as public mischief.