Indebted by Proxy: How Women Are Faring Under the Carceral State
This chapter explores the common trope that people must “pay their debt to society” when individuals are convicted of crimes. What is generally meant by this trope is that an individual should suffer prison or jail incarceration, state supervision after release in the form of parole or probation, and directly “giving back” whether in the form of community service or the payment of legal fines and fees. In this chapter, we develop the concept of being indebted by proxy, focusing on how adult women connected to men who experience prison and jail incarceration end up also paying their own debt to society. This is done by examining the frequency, the disruption, and the consequences women suffer because of family member incarceration.