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Uneasy partnerships: prisoner re-entry, family problems and state coercion in the era of neoliberalism

Cheliotis, Leonidas and McKay, Tasseli (2022) Uneasy partnerships: prisoner re-entry, family problems and state coercion in the era of neoliberalism. Punishment & Society, 24 (4). 692 - 714. ISSN 1462-4745

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Identification Number: 10.1177/14624745211006181


Hundreds of thousands of Americans are released from prison every year. Drawing on interviews conducted in the mid-2010s in the context of the Multi-site Family Study on Parenting, Partnering and Incarceration, this article explores how the strains of prisoner re-entry interact with those of poverty and family life, and how these combined strains condition proactive engagement with the legal system among re-entering individuals and their intimate and co-parenting partners. We focus our analysis on problems, tensions and struggles for control in parenting and partnership, including inter-parental violence, as these often led to calls or actions that clearly allowed for coercive intervention by parole authorities, courts, child support enforcement, or child protective services. We identify the precise circumstances and motives that lay behind such requests or allowances, and explain how these related to the cynical regard in which former prisoners and their partners typically held the coercive apparatus of the state. Through bringing our empirical findings into an interplay with scholarship on the role of punishment in the governance of poverty under neoliberalism, we examine how the strains faced by former prisoners' households and the tactics they used to deal with them pertain to broader politico-economic arrangements.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2021 12:51
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2024 03:21

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