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The Continuation of Violence: Analyzing the Retraumatization of Incarcerated Survivors of Domestic Violence and Evaluating the Potential of a “Trauma-Informed” Prison Model

Student: Eliana Kahn
Major: Sociology, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Advisor: Dr. Tom Tierney, Dr. Zareen Thomas
The purpose of my study was to explore the impact of incarceration on female survivors of domestic violence. To do this, I conducted interviews with professionals involved with trauma and the criminal justice system, as well as with three formerly incarcerated survivors of abuse. I first analyzed the ways in which the physical organization, institutional procedures, and inmate-officer power dynamics of punitive institutions replicate dynamics of domestic violence. I then evaluated three “trauma-informed” systems of care, a framework actively mitigating subsequent exposure to trauma through community integration and relationship-building. My findings indicate (a) the direct and indirect connections between domestic violence and incarceration; (b) the extent to which punitive institutions largely “re-traumatize” survivors of domestic violence and; (c) how the punitive nature inherent to the American criminal justice system undermines the implementation of a broader trauma-informed prison model. I conclude by offering a non-carceral, restorative justice approach to criminal justice.

Eliana will be online to field comments on May 8:
Noon-2pm EDT (PST 9am-11am, Africa/Europe: early evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium, Independent Study.


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Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Champion the experiences of women as they intersect with race, nation, ability, class, religion, and other axes of difference

Major Minor

Sociology

Closely affiliated with the Anthropology program, sociology majors at The College of Wooster take core courses in research methods and theory.

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