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This unique book adopts a rich theoretical, empirical and political perspective to explore the gendered incarceration of women and girls and the marginalization of their needs and rights within predominantly male penal systems. Focusing on a decade's research inside prisons in Northern Ireland, Moore and Scraton integrate in-depth interviews, focus groups, regime observation and documentary analysis to examine issues of equality, discipline, mental health, self-harm, abuse and suicide. The independent, primary research engages in controversies regarding the deaths of women in custody, a hunger strike concerning the status of politically-affiliated women prisoners, media revelations of sexual exploitation of women prisoners by male prison guards, and the use of punitive strip-searches and punishment cells for vulnerable women. Telling the story of female incarceration through the voices and experiences of women, this book provides a rare insight into the destructive and debilitating impact of prison regimes, advancing feminist analysis of women's incarceration and the criminalization of women. Moore and Scraton's study raises questions over the potential and limitations of gender specific policies, the silencing of prisoners' voices and agency, the significance of critical research in voicing prisoners' resistance and the possibilities of decarceration through adopting an abolitionist agenda.