By Jill A. McCorkel

Because the Nineteen Eighties, whilst the struggle on medications kicked into excessive equipment and felony populations soared, the rise in women’s fee of incarceration has gradually outpaced that of guys. In Breaking Wome n, Jill A. McCorkel attracts upon 4 years of on-the-ground learn in a massive US women’s criminal to discover why more durable drug guidelines have so enormously affected these incarcerated there, and the way the very nature of punishment in women’s detention facilities has been deeply altered accordingly. via compelling interviews with prisoners and kingdom body of workers, McCorkel finds that renowned so-called "habilitation" drug remedy courses strength girls to just accept a view of themselves as inherently broken, aberrant addicts on the way to safe an past unencumber. those courses paintings to implement stereotypes of deviancy that eventually humiliate and degrade the ladies. The prisoners are left feeling misplaced and alienated in any case, and lots of by no means actually deal with their dependancy because the courses’ organizers could have was hoping. a desirable and but sobering examine, Breaking girls foregrounds the gendered and racialized assumptions in the back of tough-on-crime rules whereas delivering a vibrant account of the way the modern penal approach affects person lives.

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When, just eighteen months later, it too became overcrowded, both prison administrators and state officials faced a formidable problem—how to reduce the size of the prison population without appearing soft on crime? Mandatory sentencing policies meant that early release and community-based rehabilitation programs were out of the question. The political climate in the state, particularly widespread support for a punitive response to drug offenders, positioned reform as not only the antithesis of punishment, but as a failed and pointless endeavor.

As staff members explained, the goal of rehabilitation was not to contain dangerous offenders or to deter unwitting ones but to “support” and restore women to their “true,” “feminine” nature, and this was accomplished through a control apparatus that mimicked familial arrangements. Good Girls and Their Warden Daddy: Rehabilitative Paternalism and the Idiom of Need During one of my earliest visits to East State, I spent the better part of an afternoon hanging out with two prisoners who were considered “old-timers” among their peers.

Unfounding is like rewriting history. The warden’s comments on the politics of institutional change in the prison system offer a unique vantage from which to consider current debates over the evolving character of punishment in the United States. The War on Drugs and the emergence of the “get tough” movement mark a stunning reversal of the dominant ideology of punishment. 5 At the center of current debates is the question of whether the punitive policies of the drug war signal the end of the rehabilitative ideal and the correctionalist regime of which it is a part.

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