Gender, Ethnicity, and the State
Latina and Latino Prison Politics
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Examines the experiences of Latina and Latino prisoners in New York maximum security prisons, offering a realistic interpretation of the relationship that exists between prisoners, the state, and the civil society within which prisons operate.
Gender, Ethnicity, and the State is a study of Latina and Latino prisoners in New York State. Through the use of two case studies, it compares the organizing strategies for reform pursued by Latina and Latino prisoners between 1970 and 1987, the support they received from non-Latina(o) prisoners and third parties, and the response of penal personnel to their calls for support. The work also contains information on Latino prisoner participation and community response to both the 1971 Attica Rebellion and the 1970 New York City jail rebellions.
The data for this study was compiled through a combination of primary and secondary sources. Primary sources include in-depth interviews and oral histories conducted with Latina(o) and African-American ex-prisoners, prisoners' rights attorneys, community activists, and penal staff. Other primary sources include prisoner and mainstream English and Spanish language newspapers; prisoners' rights newsletters; court cases; and government and private organizational reports.
Juanita Diaz-Cotto is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Women's Studies, and Latin American Studies at the State University of New York at Binghamton. She is also the editor (under the pseudonym of Juanita Ramos) of Companeras: Latina Lesbians (An Anthology).
"This study is unique in its attention to the interaction of gender and ethnicity in prisoner organizing and prison management. Based largely on interviews with Puerto Rican ex-inmates and with corrections personnel, this book is a straightforward, critical analysis of the history and basis of discriminatory treatment of Hispanic prisoners in the New York State penal system. Latinas, a relatively small inmate population, received much less third-party support and benefited less from policy divisions among corrections officials and political elites. " — Austin Turk, University of California, Riverside