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Drawing on video data collected between June and September of 2020, this piece reveals the unique challenges presented by COVID-19 frontline domestic abuse workers in the UK and provides critical reflections from the authors in the form of a collective interview. This innovative study uses participant-led data collection (in the form of self-recorded video diaries) and filmed focus groups with CEOs of UK charities, parliamentarians, the police and NHS professionals. The authors produced a film, Lifeline, drawing on the knowledge produced from these focus groups and video-diaries, foregrounding the voices of the women who work in this sector. The conversation presented here unpacks the complexities of representing domestic violence provision both in creative and academic outputs. Furthermore, the conversation reveals the epistemological challenges that come with representing and understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the domestic violence sector.

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Natural disasters and pandemics bring new risks and dangers to women and their children. In particular, various factors stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as economic instability, additional stress and increased control over victims led to an increase in both prevalence and severity of intimate partner violence. Based on the findings of a study conducted by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), this article examines the main challenges during the first months of the COVID-19 crisis (March–September 2020) and analyses institutional responses to facilitate access to support services for victims. Relying on a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, the study highlights the role of European Union (EU) Member States in improving long-term responses to gender-based violence in times of crises. The study also gives particular attention to emerging promising practices and holistic approaches towards the gender-based violence crisis stemming from the pandemic, describing selected examples of initiatives adopted across the EU and identifying main areas of improvement.

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As indicated by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, 80 per cent of women in Bangladesh experience partner violence (). Given this prevalence, it is essential to assess factors, transcending the personal, that precipitate such violence. Using the lens of structural violence and supporting studies showing that violence of one form engenders another, we posit that a lack of sanitation that leads to open defecation also contributes to an increased likelihood of partner violence. This study uses data from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2007 to explicate the association between open defecation and partner violence among women in Bangladesh. Results show that in our sample of 4466 women, almost 9 per cent reported open defecation, 18.4 per cent reported physical violence, and 10.2 per cent reported sexual violence. In the multivariate analyses, the adjusted prevalence ratios indicate that open defecation is significantly associated with sexual violence by partners (APR=1.30, p<0.05) but not physical violence. Implications are discussed.

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Author: Maria Adams

This chapter will use testimonies from families and observations from the author to understand how prison visiting room spaces can sustain relationships for prisoners and families. This chapter will explore whether families experienced the visiting room as being a space to recreate familial roles. Furthermore, there will be broader discussions to explore how these spaces can be a way to create a fabricated home space, in which families divulge a range of emotions. These spaces were often filled with educational and play activities which set a scene that resonated with home life. While these present positive opportunities to strengthen relationships, families also experienced a range of challenging responses including anger and resentment, since these representations of home life were often static and short-lived experiences.

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Author: Maria Adams

The final chapter will reflect on the themes of this book. This book emphasises on the importance of space to document the experiences of families visiting the prison and in the home. Furthermore, exploring families from a feminist geographical lens provides a distinct contribution to the effects of incarceration. This chapter will draw on policy and public debates from the criminal justice system and the welfare state. Therefore, this chapter will reflect on existing policies targeted for prisoners’ families centred in Scotland but to also compare with England and Wales. Drawing on testimonies from families, this chapter will also take forward on drawing policy recommendations that were influenced by the narratives constructed by families. Overall, this chapter will be to address policies to support families during and after the incarceration period.

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Author: Maria Adams

This chapter will examine how surrounding issues on the intersection with gender, class, and structural inequalities can shape the experiences of families of prisoners. Most of the family members who support loved ones in prison are female, of whom many adopt a caring and domestic role. Drawing on a feminist geographies perspective, the author will explore in more depth the term ‘doing gender’ to conceptualise and to understand how women perform in certain situations within the home and the public sphere. In this chapter, the author will explore the concept of ‘care work’ to understand how female family members have been constrained to positions that are centred around domestic and care work. Female family members mediate between caring for the prisoner and childcare responsibilities. This chapter will examine how gender can be significant in understanding the experiences of families within the domestic sphere and the prison space. Furthermore, the discussion will explore how spaces can be shaped and constructed by women who engage in care work. Most importantly, we will examine the power dynamics which are instilled to reinforce gender and social inequalities.

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Author: Maria Adams

This chapter will draw on existing scholarship on carceral geography and collateral consequences of imprisonment and will document how this book contributes to wider discussions on exploring geographical spaces to understand the effects of incarceration. Furthermore, this chapter will explore the importance of adopting an ethnographic approach by capturing the way qualitative methods are deployed to explore the testimonies of families of prisoners. Within this chapter, it is important to present insights into exploring some of the hidden spaces, including prison waiting and visiting rooms, by documenting prisoners’ families lives from the prison visiting room to home and the ongoing interactions with governmental agencies including welfare services.

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Author: Maria Adams

In this ethnographic study Maria Adams turns a geographical and feminist lens on prisoners’ families.

She captures the testimonies of families as they navigate the sociological and social challenges of the imprisonment of loved ones, exploring key concepts including inequality, penal power and vulnerability. She also measures the impacts on many aspects of families’ emotions, relationships and identities, and considers the sources of support and resilience they draw on.

With original research and fresh insights, the book deepens our understanding of carceral geography and how families experience spaces, both inside prison and beyond the bars.

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Author: Mo Stewart

As the world is preoccupied by the pandemic, and the British public are beginning to comprehend the full impact of Brexit, the predictable public mental health crisis created by the demolition of the UK social safety net has been disregarded by successive administrations. Few people realised that preventable harm was the inevitable creation of social policy reforms, gradually adopted by every administration since Thatcher, en route to her political ambition which was the demolition of the welfare state to be replaced by private health insurance. In order to demolish the welfare state, it was first necessary to remove the past psychological security provided by the welfare state. This has been achieved, with disability denial created by significant social policy reforms since 2008. To justify the adoption of harsh and unnecessary austerity measures, which were introduced without ethical approval, the Coalition administration elected in 2010 vehemently challenged the integrity of the chronically ill and disabled community and routinely accused disability benefit claimants of fraud; while failing to produce evidence to support their claims. Their often hostile rhetoric encouraged a 213 percent increase in prosecuted disability hate crimes, and successive administrations disregarded the thousands of deaths directly linked to the Work Capability Assessment, which was adopted using a discredited and dangerous biopsychosocial model of assessment to restrict access to long-term disability benefit. Influenced by corporate America since 1992, the UK social policy reforms guaranteed that many of those in greatest need were destined to die when, covertly, killed by the State.

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