U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

They Died of a Broken Heart: Connecting Women's Experiences of Trauma and Criminalisation to Survival and Death Post-imprisonment

NCJ Number
Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 53 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2014 Pages: 270-289
Bree Carlton; Marie Segrave
Date Published
July 2014
20 pages
This study documents women's experiences of survival and death after their release from prison in Victoria, Australia.
The analysis focuses on three common experiences and themes identified within the data from interviews with women released from prison: trauma and histories of marginalization and institutionalization; trauma and imprisonment; and trauma and survival with emphasis on near-death incidents. Trauma and related episodes occur in a range of incarceration, personal, and social contexts. Trauma experiences are a dominant feature of the lives of criminalized women from childhood, tending to be aggravated and intensified in criminal justice processing, incarceration, and post-release experiences characterized by marginalization and stigmatization. This research identified the prevalence of harmful and life-threatening incidents throughout the lives of criminalized women. This study found that the experiences of women who do survive in their trauma-infested environment are not circumstantially different from those who die unnatural deaths following release from prison, whether from a drug overdose or a killing. In most cases, survival and uplifting experiences stem from interventions that recognize the distinctive traumatic experiences of women and tailor interventions to provide supportive service and healing therapies. The research strategies used in this analysis emphasize the importance of identifying what is and is not occurring in the lives of women involved in the criminal justice system in Victoria, Australia, and it sets the stage for research into the effectiveness of various strategies that address the needs of women involved in the criminal justice system of Victoria, Australia. 7 notes and 64 references