Doing Time Together: Love and Family in the Shadow of the Prison

Paperback | July 1, 2008

byMegan Comfort

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By quadrupling the number of people behind bars in two decades, the United States has become the world leader in incarceration. Much has been written on the men who make up the vast majority of the nation’s two million inmates. But what of the women they leave behind? Doing Time Together vividly details the ways that prisons shape and infiltrate the lives of women with husbands, fiancés, and boyfriends on the inside.

Megan Comfort spent years getting to know women visiting men at San Quentin State Prison, observing how their romantic relationships drew them into contact with the penitentiary. Tangling with the prison’s intrusive scrutiny and rigid rules turns these women into “quasi-inmates,” eroding the boundary between home and prison and altering their sense of intimacy, love, and justice. Yet Comfort also finds that with social welfare weakened, prisons are the most powerful public institutions available to women struggling to overcome untreated social ills and sustain relationships with marginalized men. As a result, they express great ambivalence about the prison and the control it exerts over their daily lives.

An illuminating analysis of women caught in the shadow of America’s massive prison system, Comfort’s book will be essential for anyone concerned with the consequences of our punitive culture.

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From the Publisher

By quadrupling the number of people behind bars in two decades, the United States has become the world leader in incarceration. Much has been written on the men who make up the vast majority of the nation’s two million inmates. But what of the women they leave behind? Doing Time Together vividly details the ways that prisons shape and ...

Megan Comfort is a sociologist at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.4 inPublished:July 1, 2008Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226114635

ISBN - 13:9780226114637

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Chapter 1: Outside the Prison Walls
Chapter 2: “On-Line” at San Quentin
Chapter 3: “We Share Everything We Can the Best Way We Can”
Chapter 4: “Papa’s House”: The Prison as Domestic Satellite
Chapter 5: “It’s a Lot of Good Men behind Walls!”
Chapter 6:  The Long Way Home
Appendix 1: Setting and Methods
Appendix 2: An Orientation to the Research Literature
Appendix 3: United States Carceral Population, 1980-2000
Appendix 4: Field Documents
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

"The depth and authenticity of [Comfort's] fieldwork, and the constant weaving in of the women's stories, makes this book much more than just an academic text. . . . A rich and thoroughly engaging book that illuminates hitherto hidden consequences of both the US and UK punitiv eculture and should cause policy-makers to reconsider the purpose of imprisonment and who indeed is being punished."