Gender, Institutions, and Punishment: Examining the Experiences of Formerly Incarcerated Women
While men account for 93 percent of the U.S. prison population, women have seen an increase of over 700 percent in incarceration rates since the 1980s. Despite this, most sociological and criminological research examines the incarceration and reentry experiences and consequences of men. Existing research on system-involved women rarely disentangles the role of race in women’s criminal justice involvement. Thus, this dissertation uses an intersectional approach to explore how formerly incarcerated women navigate various institutions during the incarceration and reentry period. For this project, I use 40 semi-structured interviews with women primarily in North Carolina. The chapters in this dissertation explore the following research questions; 1) How do institutional responses to women’s childhood victimization and adult entrapment shape women’s pathways to prison? 2) How do mothers define and construct their maternal identities while imprisoned? 3) What strategies do women use to navigate reentering the paid labor market?
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