Breaking women : gender, race, and the new politics of by Jill A. McCorkel

By Jill A. McCorkel

Winner of the 2014 department of girls and Crime amazing student Award provided via the yankee Society of Criminology

Finalist for the 2013 C. Wright turbines booklet Award awarded by means of the Society for the learn of Social Problems
Since the Eighties, whilst the warfare on medications kicked into excessive equipment and criminal populations soared, the rise in women’s cost of incarceration has progressively outpaced that of guys. consequently, women’s prisons within the US have suffered might be the main tremendously from the overcrowding and recurrent price range crises that experience plagued the penal approach for the reason that harsher medicines legislation got here into impact. In Breaking Women, Jill A. McCorkel attracts upon 4 years of on-the-ground study in a tremendous US women’s felony to discover why more durable drug guidelines have so tremendously affected these incarcerated there, and the way the very nature of punishment in women’s detention facilities has been deeply altered consequently.
Through compelling interviews with prisoners and country group of workers, McCorkel finds that well known so-called “habilitation” drug therapy courses strength girls to simply accept a view of themselves as inherently broken, aberrant addicts for you to safe an previous unencumber. those courses have been created on the way to enact stricter punishments on girl drug offenders whereas ultimate delicate to their perceived female wishes for therapy, but they as an alternative paintings to implement stereotypes of deviancy that finally humiliate and degrade the ladies. The prisoners are left feeling misplaced and alienated after all, and lots of by no means actually deal with their dependancy because the courses’ organizers could have was hoping. a desirable and but sobering research, Breaking Women foregrounds the gendered and racialized assumptions in the back of tough-on-crime rules whereas providing a shiny account of ways the modern penal method affects person lives.

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Chapter 5 scrutinizes the kinds of knowledge about the self that the habilitative control apparatus yields. While the previous chapter analyzes how program staff know what they know about prisoners’ selves, this chapter inventories the contents of that knowledge. The images of internal disorder that counselors “mirror” back to prisoners draw on racially controlling images of African American women across three domains: motherhood, sexuality, and labor market. In the final section of the book, I consider the consequences of this new system of punishment from the perspective of those who are its targets—predominantly poor, African American women with some connection to the illicit drug economy.

All this changed, however, when a shift in the racial demographic of the prisoner population coincided with a rise in institutional disorder and overcrowding. ” Race was central to this distinction and, ultimately, to legitimating a change in the prison’s control apparatus. I argue that Prison Services Company capitalized on this crisis by providing staff with a clinical discourse that offered quasi-scientific validation for racist constructions of “real criminals” and their needs. In short order, the disease concept became the central ideological register for justifying changes to the practice and objective of control within the prison.

Interviews with prisoners, the overwhelming majority of whom were in PHW at one point or another, typically focused on their experiences in the criminal justice system, particularly their prison experiences, as well as broader discussions of their life histories. Nearly half of all respondents were interviewed more than once over the four-year period. In addition to formal interviews, I had hundreds of informal conversations with prisoners, former prisoners, correctional officers, social workers, administrators, prison activists, family members, and counselors.

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