Miriam Vishniac

Phd Student

University of Edinburgh


Working Title of PhD: The New Correctional Afterthought: Menstruation, Incarceration, and Gender-Responsive Treatment

Year commenced PhD study: 2019

Institution/Organisation: University of Edinburgh

Full or part-time: Full time

PhD Supervisors: Ingela Naumann and Paul Norris

Synopsis of PhD:

There is no existing academic literature on access to menstrual hygiene products for incarcerated women in the United States, and only one academic paper which discusses this for women in England.

Despite this lack of academic record, there are a number of policy papers, advocacy organisation reports, and news media pieces which mention that it is a severe, systemic problem which has the potential to lead to serious mental and physical health issues for these women.

My research aims to explore the questions:
– What effect does menstruation while incarcerated have on women’s sense of self, self-worth, and feelings around imprisonment?
– How do different approaches to menstrual hygiene within prisons shape women’s experiences?; and
– How does menstrual hygiene fit into existing theories of gender-responsive treatment?

My research plan is to use an interpretive approach and conduct remote, semi-structured interviews with women who have been released within the past five years from women’s federal detention centres. My hope in collecting and analysing the qualitative data generated by my work is not only to begin to address my previously-stated questions but also to provide a roadmap for other researchers willing to look further into this critical and understudied area.



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University of Edinburgh

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