Caitlin Hoover

Gendering the Death Penalty: Intersectionality and Incarceration in India’s Criminal Justice System

This project explores how gender and caste (race) shape the experiences of women sentenced to death in India and aims to situate India’s criminal justice system within a broader conversation surrounding processes of democratization and criminal justice reform. In February 2016, the National Law University in New Delhi produced the Death Penalty Research Project (DPRP), which interviewed 373 prisoners under the sentence of death. The report documented the prisoners’ socio-economic profiles to emphasize that the death penalty produces a particular carceral experience – one defined by the uncertainty of the sentence’s fulfillment and the violent treatment of convicted prisoners. Out of the 373 prisoners included in the report, only 12 are women. Through an in-depth analysis of narratives, biographical readings, and archival materials of the twelve female prisoners covered in the report, I plan to analyze how these stories reflect the intersectional impact of gender, caste, religion, and access to education for women engaging with the criminal justice system in India.