Prisoner Reintegration and the Stigma of Prison Time Inscribed on the Body

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Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Building on previous work which has conceptualised the embodied experience of imprisonment as prison time ‘inscribed’ on the body, this paper argues that the experience of reintegration after release from prison is similarly embodied and corporeal. It contends that while scholarship of prisoner reintegration post-release has identified the stigmatisation of ex-inmates as a challenge to their successful re-entry, the embodied experience of this process has remained under-researched. Drawing on extensive research with women prisoners, former prisoners and prison staff in the contemporary Russian Federation, the paper presents empirical evidence that explores the embodied experiences of release and reintegration, identifying specific examples of prison time being ‘inscribed’ on the body which prove problematic for former prisoners, and demonstrating the ways in which their attempts to ‘erase’ or overwrite these inscriptions constitute a stage in the continual corporeal process of becoming. The paper suggests that these insights could inform better understandings of experiences of reintegration, and could in turn inform the improvement of provision of services to prisoners during incarceration.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-583
JournalPunishment and Society
Volume14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012