This article examines AIDS activism in women’s prisons in the 1980s and 1990s United States through a focus on incarcerated women’s creation and display of panels for the AIDS Quilt. It argues that AIDS Quilt panels made in prison reflected the potential of incarcerated activists to use creative expression as a tool of illustrating and exercising care work inside and against the carceral state. This care work challenged the convergence of state abandonment and state violence that helped define the Reagan-Bush and Clinton eras, and it articulated the issue of women and HIV/AIDS as a problem both of illness and of caregiving.

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