Gender, Race, and the New Politics of Imprisonment
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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In January 2009, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced plans to close a $19.9 billion budget gap in California.1 His proposal to make massive cuts in social services like health care and welfare-to-work programs had all the familiar markings of the Republican Party’s brand of fiscal conserva-tism—with one radical exception. Schwarzenegger took direct aim at prison ...
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This book has been a long time in the making and I am grateful to every-one who has encouraged, inspired, and supported me along the way. My first and largest debt of gratitude belongs to the women incarcerated at East State whose experiences and observations serve as the heart and soul of this book. The questions they asked of the circumstances they found themselves in are ...
Introduction: Searching for Red’s Self
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...“I’m lost, I’ve had to surrender my self.” As Red says this, she curls her fingers into a loose fist and raps her chest as if to indicate the part of her that has gone missing.1 We are sitting in a shaded corner of the prison’s recreation yard awaiting word on whether her release paperwork will be processed in time for her to return home to celebrate her son’s fourth birthday. She learned ...
PART I: THE END OF REHABILITATION
1 Getting Tough on Women: How Punishment Changed
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Everything’s changing. We’re not supposed to call the warden Warden Richardson looked uncomfortable during the press conference. He was a large man with a commanding presence, but today, as he waited to be introduced, he was decidedly unsettled. He alternately shifted his weight for-ward onto the balls of his feet and then backward onto his heels until he lost ...
2 Taking Over: The Private Company in the Public Prison
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There are in our prisons many things for which a very high price is —Staff lieutenant, on the status of Company employees in the prisonAccountability committee meetings are held once a month in the conference room adjacent to the warden’s office. Attendance is by invitation only and limited to supervisory staff from various units and departments within the ...
3 From Good Girls to Real Criminals: Race Made Visible
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They’re a different breed and you can see that ’cause jail don’t have The warden’s office is nestled in the corner of the prison’s administration wing, which lies to the far right of the prison’s main hallway and is com-fortably removed from the noise and bustle that characterizes the rest of the facility. Were it not for the sound of the ponderous metal door that ...
PART II: THE PRACTICE OF HABILITATION
4 The Eyes Are Watching You: Finding the Real Self
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One of the earliest stops for newly sentenced prisoners as they arrive in the prison is the classification committee. Prior to PHW’s arrival, the clas-sification committee’s central tasks were to make housing assignments and to determine whether an inmate was eligible to earn “good time” credits through participation in work, educational, or rehabilitative programs.1 In ...
5 Diseased Women: Crack Whores, Bad Mothers, and Welfare Queens
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On any given day, someone passing by the PHW unit may overhear coun-selors addressing prisoners as “crack hos,” “lowdown addicts,” and “dirty old dogs,” and admonishing them to “tighten the fuck up.” When prisoners recount their initial impressions of PHW, they speak first of language, partic-ularly the use of derogatory names. Visitors to the program as well as prison ...
PART III: CONTESTING THE BOUNDARIES OF SELF
6 Rentin’ Out Your Head: Navigating Claims about the Self
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It is not very practical to try to sustain solid claims about one’s self.Rentin’ out your head—it’s when you let somebody else tell you For its first five years of operation, PHW held an annual press conference to celebrate the date the program first opened its doors at the prison. Among the guests regularly in attendance were a number of politicians (including a ...
7 Unruly Selves: Forms of Prisoner Resistance
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I can see this program for what it is—it’s just like jail only they want Our ability to resist control, or our submission to it, has to be One summer afternoon, a prisoner I did not know passed me a note as I walked down the long corridor to the PHW unit. It turned out that the note was from Meesha, an African American prisoner in her early twenties who ...
Conclusion: What If the Cure Is Worse Than the Disease?
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...tating individuals. It is about identifying and managing unruly I ain’t no princess, not a superstar, not going to make it big, you When I returned to East State Women’s Correctional Institution two years after the conclusion of my original study, I was greeted at the front gate by Lil’ Toya, a prisoner who was still there serving time on her conviction ...
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About the Author
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Jill A. McCorkel is Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Villanova University. Her work has appeared in several leading journals, including Social Problems, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, and Social Politics. She lives in Philadelphia....
Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2013