1st Edition

Policing Women Histories in the Western World, 1800 to 1950

Edited By Jo Turner, Helen Johnston, Marion Pluskota Copyright 2024
    288 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Policing Women examines for the first time the changing historical landscape of women’s experiences of their contact with the official state police between 1800 and 1950 in the Western world.

    Drawing on and going beyond existing knowledge about policing practices, the volume discusses how women encountered the official police, how they experienced that contact, and the outcomes of that contact in the modern Western world. In so doing, it is an original and much needed addition to the literature around changes in policing, women’s experiences of the criminal justice system, and women’s experiences of control and regulation. The chapters uncover such experiences in a range of countries across Europe, the USA, Canada, and Australia. Importantly, the collection focuses upon a crucial epoch in the history of policing – a 150-year period when policing was rapidly changing and being increasingly placed on a formal level. Bringing together scholarly work from expert contributors, this unique volume draws to the fore women’s experiences of policing.

    It will be of great use to both scholars and students on undergraduate and postgraduate criminology and history courses, working on the history of crime, historical criminology, the history of criminal justice, and women’s history.

    Gender, attitudes and policing
    1 Policing women in urban Scotland c.1890–1950
    Louise Jackson and Rian Sutton

    2 Policing women and girls in Canada from the late nineteenth to the mid twentieth century
    Tamara Myers

    3 Policing Australian women: beyond Sex and Secrets
    Alana Piper

    Space, place and social control
    4 The policing of female drunkenness in two northern English boroughs, c.1869–1875
    Craig Staord

    5 The policing of women in the northwest of England, 1856–1901
    Guy Woolnough

    6 Women, police, and social control in Bologna between the eighteenth and mid nineteenth century
    Sanne Muurling

    7 ‘A very friendly feeling which is perfectly natural’: police and sex workers in Progressive-Era Baltimore
    Katie M. Hemphill

    Police culture, practice and identity

    8 ‘It would be a great evil to let so bad a character … go at
    large’: convict women and the Irish police, 1860s–1900
    Elaine Farrell

    9 Character and crime: police classification of female offenders in late nineteenth-century England
    Jo Turner

    10 ‘I don’t care about you, I’ll write to the procureur!’: women’s threats, insults, and violence against policemen, 1863–1913
    Marion Pluskota

    Mobility, migration and race

    11 Policing migrant women: patterns of mobility, control and expulsion in the German Empire, 1870–1914
    Beate Althammer

    12 Policing emancipation: White law enforcer sexual violence against Black women in the Reconstruction US South, 1865–1877
    Elizabeth M. Barnes

    13 ‘Where are the race police women?’ African American policewomen in the Black press and on the beat in the early
    twentieth-century United states
    Elizabeth Evens



    Jo Turner is an Associate Professor of Criminology at Staffordshire University, UK. Her research interests centre on the criminal justice system both contemporarily and in the past. In particular, Jo is interested in how women encounter and are treated by the criminal justice system, specifically at summary level. Her key publications include ‘A shocking state of domestic unhappiness: male victims of female violence and the courts in late nineteenth century Stafford’, Societies (2019) and ‘The "vanishing" female perpetrator of common assault’, in M. van der Heijden, M. Pluskota and S. Muurling (eds), Women’s Criminality: Patterns and Variations in Europe, 1600–1914 (CUP, 2020). Jo was also the lead editor of A Companion to the History of Crime and Criminal Justice, published in 2017.

    Helen Johnston is Professor of Criminology at the University of Hull, UK, and has undertaken extensive research on imprisonment, licensing/early release mechanisms, and criminal justice institutions. Her research interests include how people have experienced criminal justice institutions, either as suspects and offenders or as employees; and crime heritage and the preservation, presentation, and dissemination of crime heritage in museums, archives, and heritage sites. She has been principal investigator and co-investigator on a range of funded research projects supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust. Her most recent book is Penal Servitude: Convicts and Long-Term Imprisonment, 1853–1948 (2022), co-authored with Barry Godfrey and David J. Cox.

    Marion Pluskota is an Assistant Professor in Social History at Leiden University, the Netherlands. Her fields of interest are crime, sex work, and urban history in Europe from the 18th to the early 20th century, with a specific focus on the use of different (urban) spaces for criminal purposes. She is the director of the project ‘Dangerous Cities: Mapping Crime in Amsterdam and Leiden, 1850– 1913’ and the follow-up project ‘Gevaarlijk Amsterdam: Criminaliteit in kaart, 1850–1905’, funded by the KNAW. She has published extensively on sex work and gender relations in crime, and key publications include ‘Petty criminality, gender bias, and judicial practice in nineteenth-century Europe’, Journal of Social History (2018) and ‘Governing sexuality: regulating prostitution in early modern Europe’ in Bert de Munck and Simon Gunn (eds), Powers of the City, Urban Agency: New Approaches to Governance and Rule in Urban Europe Since 1500 (Routledge, 2020).

    "As the position of women in the world undergoes perhaps more scrutiny than ever, there isn't a better time to situate the present through an analysis of the past. Policing Women shines an important light on women's actual experiences of being policed across the Western world. These fascinating histories (all based upon original empirical research) serve to illuminate issues around power, identity and control, yet also dispel many of the complacent assumptions about gender and offending."
    Dr. Sarah Charman, University of Portsmouth

    "This volume is a valuable and multifaceted analysis of how women actually behaved versus expectations of how women should behave, and of the diverse and sometimes contradictory ways that police officers treated women in relation to those expectations. It balances legal analysis and statistics with lively and illuminating examples of brawling, insults, and thefts. The authors make detailed and significant use of local and regional records."
    Professor Joanne Klein, Boise State University