A Communitas of Hustle and the Queer Logic of Inmate Sex (Anti) Work

Varner, Deena. „A Communitas of Hustle and the Queer Logic of Inmate Sex (Anti) Work“. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 39, 3 (2018): 208–40.
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According to dozens of news reports from the mid-2000s, the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was embroiled in a “sex scandal.” In 2004 approximately fifteen indictments were brought against corrections officers and other staff members for participating in sexual relationships with women inmates under their supervision; at least seven were convicted.3 In 2006 another four indictments were brought against eight additional staff members, including four corrections officers, for smuggling drugs into the institution.4 In 2011 another officer was sentenced for sexually assaulting a female inmate,5 and a nurse working at the institution pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual contact with inmates.6 At the end of 2015 yet another officer was arraigned on charges of sexual assault.7 The law itself is unambiguous: inmates cannot consent to have sex with prison staff.8 But in what was often referred to as a “sex for favors scandal” in the local news, women inmates were inscribed simply as (the) addicts and prostitutes (they already were) practicing sex work with their guards for “favors,” cigarettes, and drugs.9

This article attempts to grapple with the complexities of the relationships, both sexual and non-sexual, between inmates and staff members at the  Allegheny County Jail, especially during the period of 2003–2005. …

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