Survival Stories: Relationships of Justice-involved Women with History of Trauma
Over one million women are incarcerated in local and county jails or placed under community supervision of the criminal justice system in the U.S. each year. Women with history of incarceration have higher rates of many chronic and infectious diseases, and their access to health care is often complicated by mental illness, drug addiction, and significant lifetime history of trauma. Systemic barriers, including cost, restricted availability, and confusing fragmentation of services and care make access difficult for justice-involved women. Little is known about how women navigate support after and between incarcerations to survive. In this study, I explored justice-involved women’s perceptions and management of informal sources of social support through narratives of interpersonal relationship. Minimally structured, story-eliciting interviews were conducted with 10 jailincarcerated and recently released women with history of lifetime trauma. Interviews were analyzed using thematic and structural narrative inquiry techniques, and two explanatory models were derived. The first model described women’s use of opportunizing talk and fatalizing talk in embedded trauma stories as a reflection of their perception of self-and-other in the process of support-seeking. The second model focused on empowerment and entanglement, prominent themes through which women organized perceptions of the outcomes of support-seeking through social bonds, specifically in stories of housing need. For nurses and other care and service providers who work with justice-involved women, the models for understanding women’s perceptions of support provide insight into how effective and ineffective practices take shape and may point to better targeted care planning, program design, and policy advocacy.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of the literature -- Methods -- Opportunizing and fatalizing: self and other in the trauma narratives of justice-involved women -- Housing for the justice involved: empowerment and entanglement in narratives of shelter support -- Conclusion -- Appendix A. Participant characteristics -- Appendix B. University of Kansas Medical Center IEB approval -- Appendix C. Approved request to rely agreement -- Appendix D. Human subjects (CITI program) training -- Appendix E. Interview protocol --Appendix F. Code list