Jailcare: Finding the Safety Net for Women behind Bars

Jailcare: Finding the Safety Net for Women behind Bars

by Carolyn Sufrin

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Thousands of pregnant women pass through our nation’s jails every year. What happens to them as they carry their pregnancies in a space of punishment? In this time when the public safety net is frayed, incarceration has become a central and racialized strategy for managing the poor. Using her ethnographic fieldwork and clinical work as an ob-gyn in a women’s jail, Carolyn Sufrin explores how jail has, paradoxically, become a place where women can find care. Focusing on the experiences of incarcerated pregnant women as well as on the practices of the jail guards and health providers who care for them, Jailcare describes the contradictory ways that care and maternal identity emerge within a punitive space presumed to be devoid of care. Sufrin argues that jail is not simply a disciplinary institution that serves to punish. Rather, when understood in the context of the poverty, addiction, violence, and racial oppression that characterize these women’s lives and their reproduction, jail can become a safety net for women on the margins of society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520288683
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 05/23/2017
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 328
Sales rank: 392,386
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Carolyn Sufrin is a medical anthropologist and an obstetrician-gynecologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part I

1 Institutional Burden to Care 41

2 Triaging the Everyday Every Day 62

3 Cultivating Ambiguity: Normalizing Care in the Jail Clinic 81

4 The Clinic Routine: Contradictions as Care 101

Part II

5 Gestating Care: Incarcerated Reproduction as Participatory Practice 121

6 Reproduction and Carceral Desire 154

7 Custody as Forced and Enforced Intimacy 185

8 At Home in Jail 208

Conclusion 229

Notes 246

Bibliography 283

Index 303

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