"Offending Women" is an eye-opening journey into the lived reality of prison for women in the United States today. Lynne Haney looks at incarcerated mothers, housed together with their children, who are serving terms in alternative, community-based prisons-a type of facility that is becoming increasingly widespread. Incorporating vivid, sometimes shocking observations of daily life, she probes the dynamics of power over women's minds and bodies that play out in two such institutions in California. She finds that these 'alternative' prisons, contrary to their aims, often end up disempowering women, transforming their social vulnerabilities into personal pathologies, and pushing them into a state of disentitlement. Uncovering the complex gendered under-pinning of methods of control and intervention used in the criminal justice system today, "Offending Women" links that system to broader discussions on contemporary government and state power and asks why these strategies have arisen at this particular moment in time, and considers what forms of citizenship they have given rise to.
Lynne A. Haney is Professor of Sociology at New York University. She is the author of Inventing the Needy: Gender, Politics, and State Development in Hungary and a coauthor of Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections, and Imaginations in a Postmodern World (both available from UC Press). She is also the editor of Families of a New World: Gender, Politics, and State Development in a Global Context.