Thomas, S. & Christian, J. (2018). Betwixt and between: Incarcerated men, familial ties and social visibility. Pp. 273-287. In R. Condry and P.S. Smith (Eds) Prisons, Punishment and the Family: Towards a New Sociology of Punishment. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
This chapter draws from a qualitative study of incarcerated men to investigate the social processes and interactions between both correctional authorities and family members that inform their sense of belonging and legitimacy. It reveals that prison visitation rooms present a complex environment in which incarcerated men have access to discreet periods of visibility and relevance to their family members and the broader community. There are, however, several precarious aspects to these processes. The family members who are central to enhancing men’s visibility and legitimacy are primarily women from economically disadvantaged, racial, and ethnic minority groups, resulting in their own marginalization, which is compounded within prison spaces. By illuminating both the challenges and opportunities of familial connections, this chapter informs a social justice framework for understanding the experiences of both incarcerated men and their family members.