Catarina Frois, researcher at CRIA-IUL, developed an ethnographic work in a female prison, having conducted monthly visits for a year. This experience, revealed in her recent book “Female Imprisonment”, unique in the Portuguese prison panorama, allowed her to observe the prison context from a perspective very close to its inmates, by exposure to the routines, happiness and anguish of daily life, experiences and limits of 'incarceration'. However, Odemira imprisonment proved to be a very particular case study.
In part 1/3 of this interview, Catarina Frois explained to us that 'Odemira is peculiar because it must be one of the few prisons in Portugal, due to its small size, which is not overcrowded'.
Part 2/3 referred to the 'reformer' effect of imprisonment. As the researcher highlights, ‘the purpose of imprisonment is reintegration, but it is not. The objective of imprisonment is for the community and society to see the practical application of justice.’
Now, to finish this interview with Catarina Frois, we present part 3/3 where the researcher helps us to understand the role of a female researcher in a female prison, proximities and methodological issues. And how the proximity created by the fieldwork can make you 'often confront yourself with ... had you been in the same situation, would you not have made the same choices? (...) those people are not victims, they are not the unfortunate, or rather, they are not people entirely without choice, they made a choice, they committed a crime'.