Journal of Progressive Human Services | VOL. 33
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The Keepers and the Kept: Social Work and Criminalized Women, an Historical Review

Publication Date May 4, 2022

Abstract

ABSTRACT Current trends in women’s criminalization reflect historical patterns of racism, gender conformity, and enforcing normality. This paper traces key shifts in policy and discourse on women’s punishment in the United States from the mid 19th century to contemporary times. Additionally, this paper reflects on social work’s role in the history of responding to criminalized women and its involvement in prison reform efforts. I argue that the profession’s reform efforts on behalf of criminalized women operate as a form of carceral humanism, enabling expansion of the carceral state. To meaningfully challenge mass incarceration, social work must engage anti-carceral/abolitionist politics and praxis.

Concepts

Social Work Trends In Women Shifts In Policy Gender Conformity Reform Efforts Historical Review Shifts In Discourse Current Trends Expansion Of State United States

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