Neoliberalism, illiteracy, and poverty: Framing the rise in black women's incarceration Academic Article uri icon


  • As welfare and prison reform shape public discourse about incarcerated women, there needs to be deeper conversations about sociohistorical, political, and economic causes of increased incarceration of Black women. In this paper, we present the characteristics of women offenders and explore the impacts of neoliberalism, poverty, and illiteracy on the increase of Black women's incarceration. Using critical race theory as a guiding framework, we present the argument that neoliberal welfare reform policies and crime control policies exacerbate illiteracy and poverty, thus contributing to women's criminal activities. We emphasize gender-responsive strategies when planning and implementing programs for low-income, low-literate, and incarcerated women.

published proceedings

  • Western Journal of Black Studies

author list (cited authors)

  • Alfred, M., & Chlup, D.

complete list of authors

  • Alfred, M||Chlup, D

publication date

  • December 2009