Fractured Starts, Conceptual Roadblocks, and Resulting Epiphanies

  • Jill McCrackenEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Anthropology book series (BRIEFSANTHRO)


This chapter provides the context through which we explore the ethical dilemmas we encountered and how they influenced our findings. We outline our research process and co-researchers’ voices narrate how we discovered and explored the questions and areas of research and collaboratively conducted the research. We explain the importance of the Red Tent Facilitators (RFT) to this research and what ultimately became the Women Researching Incarceration Standing Together (WRIST) group. We conclude with group members’ perspectives, as both facilitators and participants in the process, as they explain their concerns and challenges with the project and some of the benefits they gained.


  1. Allen, S., Flaherty, C., & Ely, G. (2010). Throwaway moms: Maternal incarceration and the criminalization of female poverty. Affilia, 25(2), 160–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Banks, S., Armstrong, A., Carter, K., Graham, H., Hayward, P., Henry, A., et al. (2013). Everyday ethics in community-based participatory research. Contemporary Social Science, 8(3), s263–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boucher, L. M., Marshall, Z., Martin, A., Larose-Hébert, K., Flynn, J. V., Lalonde, C., … & Boyd, R. (2017). Expanding conceptualizations of harm reduction: results from a qualitative community-based participatory research study with people who inject drugs. Harm reduction Journal, 14(1), 18.Google Scholar
  4. Bradley, R. G., & Davino, K. M. (2002). Women’s perceptions of the prison environment: When prison is “the safest place I’ve ever been”. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 26(4), 351–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brennan, T., Breitenbach, M., Dieterich, W., Salisbury, E. J., & Van Voorhis, P. (2012). Women’s pathways to serious and habitual crime: A person-centered analysis incorporating gender responsive factors. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 39(11), 1481–1508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Byrne, M. W. (2005). Conducting research as a visiting scientist in a women’s prison. Journal of Professional Nursing, 21(4), 223–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cook, S. L., Smith, S. G., Tusher, C. P., & Raiford, J. (2005). Self-reports of traumatic events in a random sample of incarcerated women. Women & Criminal Justice, 16(1–2), 107–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. DeHart, D., Lynch, S., Belknap, J., Dass-Brailsford, P., & Green, B. (2014). Life history models of female offending: The roles of serious mental illness and trauma in women’s pathways to jail. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 38(1), 138–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DeHart, D. D. (2008). Pathways to prison: Impact of victimization in the lives of incarcerated women. Violence Against Women, 14(12), 1362–1381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dumond, R. W. (2003). Confronting America’s most ignored crime problem: The prison rape elimination act of 2003. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 31, 354–360.Google Scholar
  11. Fickenscher, A., Lapidus, P., Silk-Walker, P., & Becker, T (2001). Women behind bars: Health needs of inmates in a county jail. Public Health Reports, 116(3), 191. Retrieved January 29, 2016 from
  12. Fuentes, C. M. (2014). Nobody’s child: The role of trauma and interpersonal violence in women’s pathways to incarceration and resultant service needs. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 28(1), 85–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gershon, L. (19 December 2017). Drug Users Are Forming Unions To Protect Their Rights And Safety. Huffington Post. Retrieved on March 23, 2019 from
  14. Haney, L. A. (2010). Offending women: Power, punishment, and the regulation of desire. University of California Press.Google Scholar
  15. Harm Reduction International. (2019). “What is Harm Reduction?” Harm Reduction International. Retrieved on 22 March 2019 from
  16. Heney, J., & Kristiansen, C. M. (1998). An analysis of the impact of prison on women survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Women & Therapy, 20(4), 29–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mackie, J. & Wood, S.E. (2018). “Can reporting on vulnerable people do more harm than good?” The Tyee. Retrieved on May 22 2019 from
  18. McCracken, J. (2010). Street sex work: Re/constructing discourse from margin to center. Community Literacy Journal, 4, 2.Google Scholar
  19. McCracken, J. (2013). Street sex workers’ discourse: Realizing material change through agential choice. Routledge Research in Gender and Society.Google Scholar
  20. McCracken, J. (2019). “When Institutional Review Boards Impede Community-Based Participatory Research: Recommendations for an Increasingly Ethical and Inclusive Research Process.” Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  21. McHugo, G. J., Caspi, Y., Kammerer, N., Mazelis, R., Jackson, E., Russell, L., ... & Kimerling, R. (2005). The assessment of trauma history in women with co-occurring substance abuse and mental disorders and a history of interpersonal violence. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 32(2), 113–127.Google Scholar
  22. McLean, R. L., Robarge, J., & Sherman, S. G. (2006). Release from jail: Moment of crisis or window of opportunity for female detainees? Journal of Urban Health, 83(3), 382–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. National Institute of Corrections. (n.d.). PREA/Offender Sexual Abuse. Retrieved May 22 2019 from
  24. Richie, B. (1996). Compelled to crime: The gender entrapment of battered black women. Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  25. Richie, B. (2001). Challenges incarcerated women face as they return to their communities: Findings from life history interviews. Crime and Delinquency, 47, 368–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Taylor, S. E. (2003). The tending instinct: Women, men, and the biology of relationships. Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. Tripodi, S., & Pettus-Davis, C. (2013). Histories of childhood victimization and subsequent mental health problems, substance use, and sexual victimization for a sample of incarcerated women in the US. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 36(1), 30–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Visher, C. A., & O’Connell, D. J. (2012). Incarceration and inmates’ self-perceptions about returning home. Journal of Criminal Justice, 40(5), 386–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Verbal and Visual ArtsUniversity of South Florida St. PetersburgSt. PetersburgUSA

Personalised recommendations