Social Capital, Health and Politics: Justice-Involved Women's Navigation of the Coronavirus Pandemic
As the pandemic rages on, there are growing concerns that the needs of marginalized populations and those who are facing economic strain are not being met. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), racial and ethnic minorities are at heightened risk of hospitalization and death and low-income residents are at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to crowded housing conditions, disproportionate representation in essential worker settings, and limited income to purchase essential items. For justice-involved women (JIW) – who face a myriad of barriers to employment, residential, and financial stability are the fastest growing segment of the criminal justice system – the disproportionately devastating effects of COVID-19 are likely to be magnified, yet
unacknowledged. Considering their pre-pandemic barriers, JIW will undoubtedly bear the brunt of the social, economic, and health consequences imposed by skyrocketing unemployment rates, loss of healthcare coverage, and a likely wave of evictions. The purpose of this project is to illuminate the cumulative disadvantage of individuals with complex intersecting identities that are not centered in the national narrative and provide long-term solutions to improving JIW's access to resources and information during public health crises. For this ongoing study, 160 justice-involved women are asked to reflect on their mental and physical health, access to social capital, political participation, and experiences navigating the coronavirus pandemic (i.e., seeking testing sites, accessing stimulus checks, purchasing essential items).