Women in the United States who are released from prison face multiple obstacles in their efforts to establish stable lives outside the criminal justice system. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than half of the women released from jail are re-arrested within three years. Increasingly, research has documented the substantial likelihood that women who become incarcerated have childhood and adult histories of physical and sexual abuse and poverty. This qualitative study examines the “lived experience” of violence in the lives of formerly incarcerated women during three periods in their lives: childhood, adulthood and incarceration. An analysis of 41 in-depth interviews with twenty women reveals profound, “soul scarring” violence as the central defining theme of their lives. The analysis reveals not only the ways the violence impacted them at the time of occurrence, but also the ongoing, residual devastating effects of these experiences in their lives today.
Based on emergent themes from these interviews, I propose an analytic concept, that of “enduring violence,” to help understand how the women in this study have “endured” the violence in their lives and how they have coped with lives characterized by enduring violence. I examine how this concept explicates a seemingly paradoxical reality: the women can and do endure such violence enabling them to survive, while simultaneously subjecting them to extreme “costs” in terms of their emotional, psychological and physical well-beings.
Drawing from Patricia Hill Collins’ work on “controlling images” and Jean Baker Miller’s work on “relational images”, I build and expand upon existing theories of trauma, intersectionality and violence to create the concept of enduring violence. I discuss the ways the concept of enduring violence can deepen our understanding of the enormity of the task and the profound obstacles faced by formerly incarcerated women as they try to envision and create a life free from crime and violence.
Based on the findings of this study, I discuss recommendations for policy changes to foster preemptive and ameliorative institutional interventions in the lives of girls and women who face the kinds of violence that so permeated the lives of the women I interviewed.
|Advisor:||Francis, Linda, Vidal, Carlos|
|School:||State University of New York at Stony Brook|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social work, Womens studies, Criminology|
|Keywords:||Formerly incarcerated, Societal indifference, Survival, Violence against women, Women offenders|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be