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Strangers in a strange land: coping with imprisonment as a racial or ethnic foreign national inmate


  • This work was supported by The Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement; and, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We would like to thank Phil Goodman, Ron Levi and the anonymous reviewers for their readings and helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

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A wide range of scholarship examining the global effects of neo-liberalism draws attention to the precarious position of individuals who are not seen as part of the social body. While immigrants, racial minorities, and common criminals are central to this discourse, relatively little research has examined how the experiences of these individuals may vary based on statuses other than citizenship when they are imprisoned. Our research focuses on the interactions (between prisoners and between prisoners and correctional staff) of a racially diverse group of Dutch foreign national prisoners incarcerated in England. Although all of these prisoners clearly saw themselves as ‘outsiders,’ visible minorities faced a unique set of challenges relative to their White counterparts. We consider both the practical and theoretical import of these findings.