This article introduces the concept of carceral care as those public-facing “do-better” penal practices, policies, and material actions used to ward off future investigation of underlying institutional violences of carceral spaces. As a model for denaturalizing carceral care, time, space, and the perpetuity of reform, it explores theories of deviant care, mutual aid, and QTBIPoC radical relationalism. It investigates how inhabiting deviance is a necessary care practice as modeled every day by queer bonds of survival, particularly from within the confines of carceral spaces. Based on relationships built over the last four years with trans women of color organizing inside a “male-designated” state prison in Corcoran, California, this article connects questions of deviant care as the refusal of the diagnosable and individuated self through queer black/indigenous feminist of color resistance and radical thought.

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