Breaking Women: Gender, Race, and the New Politics of by Jill A. McCorkel

By Jill A. McCorkel

Because the Nineteen Eighties, while the battle on medications kicked into excessive apparatus and criminal populations soared, the rise in women’s cost of incarceration has gradually outpaced that of guys. In Breaking Wome n, Jill A. McCorkel attracts upon 4 years of on-the-ground study in a massive US women’s felony to discover why more durable drug regulations have so significantly affected these incarcerated there, and the way the very nature of punishment in women’s detention facilities has been deeply altered for that reason. via compelling interviews with prisoners and kingdom team of workers, McCorkel unearths that renowned so-called "habilitation" drug remedy courses strength girls to just accept a view of themselves as inherently broken, aberrant addicts so one can safe an past unlock. those courses paintings to implement stereotypes of deviancy that eventually humiliate and degrade the ladies. The prisoners are left feeling misplaced and alienated after all, and lots of by no means really handle their habit because the courses’ organizers can have was hoping. a desirable and but sobering examine, Breaking girls foregrounds the gendered and racialized assumptions in the back of tough-on-crime regulations whereas supplying a brilliant account of the way the modern penal approach affects person lives.

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How did they reconcile the punitive demands of “get tough” with the prison’s reformist traditions? The future with the past? The sections that follow demonstrate that although prison staff were early critics of “get tough” policies, the politics and circumstances of the drug war sparked a series of resource and ideological crises that undermined their support for correctionalism and weakened their commitment to preserving the prison’s reformist legacy. I argue that it is within this crucible of crisis and rupture that the staff abandoned long-standing ideologies and practices, and “unfounded” rehabilitation.

The commissioner of correction explained in an interview: The state decided to go forward with this [“get tough”] as early as 1986. And since 1986 we’ve been working with our facilities to increase security, enhance public safety, emphasize accountability and discipline for our prisoners, and make prison an unpleasant—humane but unpleasant place. They [those at the women’s prison] have not done that. They have continued to do the same thing they’ve always done—which I’m becoming convinced doesn’t accomplish what it needs to.

That’s why this new program is called [Project] Habilitate [his emphasis]. The executives at [the Company] are not stupid, they’re not going to try to sell something that nobody wants. JM: So “unfounding rehabilitation” means renaming it? Repackaging it for political purposes? Warden: No, it’s more than that. What I meant is that there’s tremendous pressure to rethink everything—who we are, what we do. It’s like the past is not a part of us—of this the current enterprise.  . Unfounding is like rewriting history.

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