"At the moment, I see the guys who're doing the work, they get harassed by the women, they push them around and it’s just as trashy as when guys do it. And there’s one who’s pretty good-looking, and they’re all like – I’m gonna’ get him…"
“That guard, I told her everything. She brought her runners, and we had races in the corridor, we waited for everyone to be locked up. Or she put me on the trolley and pushed me!”
“Some of them would send me notes under the door at night, one English girl wrote 'I love you Mme L.’ So I was always saying, ‘no, Margaret no’.”
For two years, sociologist Myriam Joël collected the secrets of 80 detainees and 70 professionals and volunteers working in female detention. Her study reveals a surprisingly free way of speaking about a subject that is often considered illegitimate and ignored in social sciences: women’s sexuality in prison.
Broadening the perspective beyond its initial object, this book is in turn moving, funny, and disturbing. It shows that the prison environment is far from being a spatial and temporal isolate. Like the world outside the prison, sexuality is shown to be covert, invisible, conspicuous and rationalised. Detainees are subject to the same contradictory injunctions as women in the so-called “outside world”: breaking free of male domination and violence whilst adhering to strict gender norms.