Paternity and the Paradigms of Possibility: Comparing Two Fatherhood Programs in American Prisons

  • Anna Curtis
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


Traditional gender roles have created a longstanding expectation that men in America should provide financial stability and discipline within their families (Coltrane 1996; Kann 2005). More recently, there is an increasing belief that men should also nurture their children (Coltrane 1996; Kaufman 2013). Balancing these expectations can be challenging, even for men who have not been separated from their children through imprisonment (Coltrane and Adams 2008; Cooper 2000). While in prison, prisoners are largely excluded from both the provider and nurturer role and are often defined—by actors in the criminal justice and the larger public—as “bad” men who have little to offer their children. Furthermore, the structure of prison demands masculine practices that confirm incarcerated men’s parental unfitness: namely, the will and capacity to hurt, emotional coldness, and physical isolation from children (Sabo et al. 2001).


Fatherhood program Incarceration Prison Masculinity Content analysis Ethnography 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Curtis
    • 1
  1. 1.State University of New York at Cortland (SUNY Cortland)CortlandUSA

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