Writing With and For Prisoners: A Feminist's Tale

Mary Bosworth, Wesleyan University

ABSTRACT
In this paper I will discuss my recent research on the U.S. Federal Prison system. I will demonstrate the challenges and rewards of writing a text designed in large part for prisoners and their families. Methodological issues that I will address include the emotional toll of prison research, the difficulty of building rapport by mail, and how to deal with gender relations when corresponding with the confined. Reflecting on feminist research methodologies I will discuss how each of these issues relates to pwer dynamics that are inherent in criminological studies. Finally, I will make a case for the importance of including the voices of prisoners to build an effective critique of the current system.

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Updated 05/20/2006