Doing Time Together
Love and Family in the Shadow of the Prison
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.
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 2: An Orientation to the Research Literature
Appendix 3: United States Carceral Population, 1980-2000
Appendix 4: Field Documents