Women at the margins: Experiences with spousal incarceration in India

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Justice-involved families in India are underserved despite concurrent challenges including inadequate penal systems and widespread poverty. Families provide emotional and financial support to incarcerated individuals-burdens that fall upon female kin who are underresourced. Women experiencing spousal incarceration in India are likely to be from marginalized sections of society, vulnerable to co-occurring forms of oppression, making intersectional feminism a suitable theoretical framework to contextualize their lives. Through consistent interactions with the carceral institution, these women become integrated in the prison culture, experiencing secondary prisonization. Intersectional feminism helps understand variations in secondary prisonization for women inhabiting different social locations. However, this population remains understudied. We bridge the gap by building a contextualized understanding of this population using intersectional feminism, by attending to scholarship that illustrates sources of marginalization including exploitive informal work, a minoritized caste identity, and a minoritized religious identity. We offer recommendations for theory and research.



intersectional feminism, secondary prisonization, spousal incarceration