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An Albanian Study of the Gender Perspective in the Criminal Justice System

09 February 2015

Like in many countries, women in conflict with the law in Albania are neglected as policies are drafted with only the male majority of offenders in mind, creating an urgent need for greater consideration of women’s needs in criminal justice and penal policy. As part of her PhD thesis, Edlira Papavangjeli, Program Manager and Researcher at the Albanian Helsinki Committee, carried out research into the profile and needs of women prisoners in Albania. You can find a short summary of this thesis and the thesis itself (pdf version) below.

The monograph ‘Women in the Conflict with the Law – The Gender Perspective in the Criminal Justice System’ provides a comparative analysis of this important issue and European standards in criminal justice and gender equality. Why women? In both European and Albanian prison population, women represent one of the “invisible” groups. However, it is worth noting that in recent years, in many countries around the world, their number in prisons is on the rise. Some international studies even show that in some countries, the number of women in prison is growing faster than that of the convicted men. At the same time, most of these women represent the most neglected and excluded from social benefits that societies in general provide. The paper, firstly, focuses on criminal policies pursued in various European countries and in Albania regarding women offenders; secondly, the study focuses on the broader social dynamics and the factors that have influenced the lives of women and more particularly in the commission of offences, as well as the factors and dynamics that affect their lives while they are awaiting trial or sentenced with imprisonment and, finally, in the study of the dynamics faced by women after their release and opportunities they have for a potential successful return to society.

The paper undertakes to provide not only a comparative study of the status of women offenders, but also serves to provoke discussion on how society treats these women in order to find and implement more humane and effective measures to render justice in cases where offenders are women.

Finally, it is noteworthy that the purpose of this paper is not to provide simply a theoretical analysis, but also to present a study focused on the best practices of the European Union member states that can serve as models for the reintegration of detained or sentenced women back into the Albanian society. For this reason, this paper aims to turn into a tool for practical use by representatives, policy makers and decision makers of relevant state and civil society institutions that are involved in the process of reintegration of women offenders back into society.

Find the monograph as pdf here.

Edlira Papavangjeli also wrote an article for the Security and Human Rights Journal on the Development of the Albanian Prison System in the Light of International Standards. You can read it here.