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Captivity Beyond Prisons

Captivity Beyond Prisons
Criminalization Experiences of Latina (Im)migrants

Escobar examines the criminalization of Latina (im)migrants, delving into questions of reproduction, technologies of power, and social justice in a prison system that consistently devalues the lives of Latinas

March 2016
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261 pages | 6 x 9 |

Today the United States leads the world in incarceration rates. The country increasingly relies on the prison system as a “fix” for the regulation of societal issues. Captivity Beyond Prisons is the first full-length book to explicitly link prisons and incarceration to the criminalization of Latina (im)migrants.

Starting in the 1990s, the United States saw tremendous expansion in the number of imprisoned (im)migrants, specifically Latinas/os. Consequently, there was also an increase in the number of deportations. In addition to regulating society, prisons also serve as a reproductive control strategy, both in preventing female inmates from having children and by separating them from their families. With an eye to racialized and gendered technologies of power, Escobar argues that incarcerated Latinas are especially depicted as socially irrecuperable because they are not considered useful within the neoliberal labor market. This perception impacts how they are criminalized, which is not limited to incarceration but also extends to and affects Latina (im)migrants’ everyday lives. Escobar also explores the relationship between the immigrant rights movement and the prison abolition movement, scrutinizing a variety of social institutions working on solutions to social problems that lead to imprisonment.

Accessible to both academics and those in the justice and social service sectors, Escobar’s book pushes readers to consider how, even in radical spaces, unequal power relations can be reproduced by the very entities that attempt to undo them.


2017 National Association for Ethnic Studies Outstanding Book Award

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction. Shifting the Conversation from (Im)migrant Rights to Abolition
  • Chapter 1. Understanding the Roots of Latina (Im)migrants' Captivity
  • Chapter 2. Reinforcing Gendered Racial Boundaries: Unintended Consequences of (Im)migrant Rights Discourse
  • Chapter 3. Violent Formations: Criminalizing and Disciplining (Im)migrant Women
  • Chapter 4. Domesticating (Im)migration: Coordinating State Violence beyond the Nation-State
  • Chapter 5. Emancipation Is Not Freedom: A Reflection and Critique of Advocacy Abolition
  • Conclusion. Envisioning and Performing Freedom
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Los Angeles, California

Escobar is an assistant professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University, Northridge.


“Escobar offers a compelling argument about how the United States sustains a regime of exclusion of people of color by systematically criminalizing African Americans and Latin American migrants. I will use this book not only in my own research but also for my classes.”
Roberta Villalón, St. John’s University, and author of Violence Against Latina Immigrants: Citizenship, Inequality, and Community

“This book pushes many fields forward with its rich and nuanced analysis. Using the prison abolition framework to critique (im)migrant rights work has not been done before. This is a unique contribution.”
Jodie Lawston, California State University at San Marcos, author of Sisters Outside: Radical Activists Working for Women Prisoners


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This book may also be available on the following library platforms; check with your local library:
3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca