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critical hermeneutics, critical social theory, incarcerated women, lesbian, participatory action research



  1. Maeve, M. Katherine RN, PhD


Incarcerated women have numerous physical, social, and emotional health care needs, including specific needs related to their expressions of sexuality while in prison.This report describes the results of a participatory action research study with incarcerated women utilizing critical hermeneutic data analysis techniques. While the public's view of sexuality between incarcerated women borders on the prurient and profane, this study suggests that women in prison continue to be sexual beings who come to "participate" in love and sex with one another based on their need for relationship and friendship. It is suggested that prison bureaucracies define women through a sexual lens, dually grounding their identities in the crimes they were sent to prison for and the perceived crimes of their sexuality. The need for nursing involvement and intervention with this marginalized and stigmatized population is discussed.