Sociology Professor Susan Sered continues to follow the women whose lives she chronicled in the book Can't Catch a Break: Gender, Jail, Drugs, and the Limits of Personal Responsibility, coauthored with colleague Maureen Norton-Hawk.
The book offers astute policy analysis as it tells the personal stories of 40 women the authors came to know during five years of field work. It documents day-to-day struggles of these women in the face of sexual abuse, violent communities, ineffective social and therapeutic programs, discriminatory local and federal policies, criminalization, incarceration, and a broad cultural consensus that views suffering as a consequence of personal flaws and bad choices.
Sered has kept in touch with these women, posting about their challenges and progress twice yearly. Read the January 2017 update.