Incarceration in the United States
- Too Much Time byISBN: 9780714839738Publication Date: 2000-03-16Too Much Time is a groundbreaking documentary survey of the experience of women in prison by the award-winning photojournalist Jane Evelyn Atwood. Since 1980, the numbers of women in US prisons have increased tenfold. Similar statistics apply to the nine other countries around the world whose prison system Atwood has succeeded in penetrating by taking photographs, interviewing women prisoners and their guards, and gathering testimony. The momentous result is a raw and moving account in both words and pictures of society's attitude to women, crime and incarceration. The book raises provocative and important questions about the relative treatment of men and women in prison and about the links between women's crimes and male violence. Kathy Boudin, a teacher and writer imprisoned since 1981, explains that 'As women in prison, we tell stories to each other - sitting in our cells, walking in the prison yard, in parenting groups - but we urgently need our stories to be heard beyond the walls and the razor wire.' This book takes the reader into the lives of women in prison as they reflect on personal responsibility and social realities, guilt and reparation, change, loss and survival. It is precisely in the power of prisoners' voices that the complex truth emerges.
- Interrupted Life byISBN: 9780520252493Publication Date: 2010-01-25Interrupted Life is a gripping collection of writings by and about imprisoned women in the United States, a country that jails a larger percentage of its population than any other nation in the world. This eye-opening work brings together scores of voices from both inside and outside the prison system including incarcerated and previously incarcerated women, their advocates and allies, abolitionists, academics, and other analysts. In vivid, often highly personal essays, poems, stories, reports, and manifestos, they offer an unprecedented view of the realities of women's experiences as they try to sustain relations with children and family on the outside, struggle for healthcare, fight to define and achieve basic rights, deal with irrational sentencing systems, remake life after prison; and more. Together, these powerful writings are an intense and visceral examination of life behind bars for women, and, taken together, they underscore the failures of imagination and policy that have too often underwritten our current prison system.
- Inner Lives byISBN: 0814742556An intimate collection of African American women's voices on their lives in prison The rate of women entering prison has increased nearly 400 percent since 1980, with African American women constituting the largest percentage of this population. However, despite their extremely disproportional representation in correctional institutions, little attention has been paid to their experiences within the criminal justice system. Inner Lives provides readers the rare opportunity to intimately connect with African American women prisoners. By presenting the women's stories in their own voices, Paula C. Johnson captures the reality of those who are in the system, and those who are working to help them. Johnson offers a nuanced and compelling portrait of this fastest-growing prison population by blending legal history, ethnography, sociology, and criminology. These striking and vivid narratives are accompanied by equally compelling arguments by Johnson on how to reform our nation's laws and social policies, in order to eradicate existing inequalities. Her thorough and insightful analysis of the historical and legal background of contemporary criminal law doctrine, sentencing theories, and correctional policies sets the stage for understanding the current system.
- Couldn't Keep It to Myself byISBN: 9780060534295Publication Date: 2003-01-28What I hope is that people reading this book will bear in mind that we are human beings first, inmates second. --Bonnie Foreshaw In a stunning new work of insight and hope, New York Times bestselling author Wally Lamb once again reveals his unmatched talent for finding the humanity in the lost and lonely and celebrates the transforming power of the written word. For the past several years, Lamb has taught writing to a group of women prisoners at York Correctional Institution. At first mistrustful of Lamb, one another, and the writing process, over time these students let down their guard, picked up their pens, and discovered their voices. In this unforgettable collection, the women of York describe in their own words how they were imprisoned by abuse, rejection, and their own self-destructive impulses long before they entered the criminal justice system. Yet these are stories of hope, humor, and triumph in the face of despair. Having used writing as a tool to unlock their creativity and begin the process of healing, these amazing writers have left victimhood behind. In his powerful introduction, Lamb describes the incredible journey of expression and self-awareness the women took through their writings and shares how they challenged him as a teacher and as a fellow author. In "Hair Chronicles," Tabatha Rowley tells her life history through her past hairstyles -- outer signals to the world each time she reinvented herself and eventually came to prize her own self-worth. Brenda Medina admits in "Hell, and How I got Here" that she continued to rebel in prison until her parents' abiding love made her realize that her misbehavior was hurting them and herself deeply. In "Faith, Power, and Pants," Bonnie Foreshaw describes how faith has carried her through trials in life and in prison and has allowed her to understand her past actions, to look toward the future, and to believe that she will once again taste home cooking. Couldn't Keep It to Myself is a true testament to the process of finding oneself and working toward a better day.
- I'll Fly Away byISBN: 9780061430688Publication Date: 2007-09-25In 2003 Wally Lamb--the author of two of the most beloved novels of our time, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True--published Couldn't Keep It to Myself, a collection of essays by the students in his writing workshop at the maximum-security York Correctional Institution, Connecticut's only prison for women. Writing, Lamb discovered, was a way for these women to confront painful memories, face their fears and their failures, and begin to imagine better lives. The New York Times described the book as "Gut-tearing tales . . . the unvarnished truth." The Los Angeles Times said of it, "Lying next to and rising out of despair, hope permeates this book." Now Lamb returns with I'll Fly Away, a new volume of intimate, searching pieces from the York workshop. Here, twenty women--eighteen inmates and two of Lamb's cofacilitators--share the experiences that shaped them from childhood and that haunt and inspire them to this day. These portraits, vignettes, and stories depict with soul-baring honesty how and why women land in prison--and what happens once they get there. The stories are as varied as the individuals who wrote them, but each testifies to the same core truth: the universal value of knowing oneself and changing one's life through the power of the written word.
- Women Behind Bars byISBN: 1588263959Publication Date: 2005-10-31Today's prisons are increasingly filled with poor, dark-skinned, single mothers locked up for low-level drug involvement, with serious ramifications for the corrections system. ""Women Behind Bars"" offers the first comprehensive exploration of the challenges faced by incarcerated women in the United States. Young and Reviere show conclusively that serving time in prisons designed by and for men not only does little to address what landed women, particularly women of color, there in the first place, but also undermines their prospects for an improved life on the outside. Using a multifaceted race/class/gender lens, the authors make a convincing argument that women in prison are punished twice: first by their sentences, and again because the policies that govern time behind bars were not designed to address women's unique problems and responsibilities.
- Breaking Women byISBN: 9780814789483Winner of the 2014 Division of Women and Crime Distinguished Scholar Award presented by the American Society of Criminology Finalist for the 2013 C. Wright Mills Book Award presented by the Society for the Study of Social Problems Compelling interviews uncover why tough drug policies disproportionately impact women in the American prison system Since the 1980s, when the War on Drugs kicked into high gear and prison populations soared, the increase in women's rate of incarceration has steadily outpaced that of men. As a result, women's prisons in the US have suffered perhaps the most drastically from the overcrowding and recurrent budget crises that have plagued the penal system since harsher drugs laws came into effect. In Breaking Women, Jill A. McCorkel draws upon four years of on-the-ground research in a major US women's prison to uncover why tougher drug policies have so greatly affected those incarcerated there, and how the very nature of punishment in women's detention centers has been deeply altered as a result. Through compelling interviews with prisoners and state personnel, McCorkel reveals that popular so-called "habilitation" drug treatment programs force women to accept a view of themselves as inherently damaged, aberrant addicts in order to secure an earlier release. These programs were created as a way to enact stricter punishments on female drug offenders while remaining sensitive to their perceived feminine needs for treatment, yet they instead work to enforce stereotypes of deviancy that ultimately humiliate and degrade the women. The prisoners are left feeling lost and alienated in the end, and many never truly address their addiction as the programs' organizers may have hoped. A fascinating and yet sobering study, Breaking Women foregrounds the gendered and racialized assumptions behind tough-on-crime policies while offering a vivid account of how the contemporary penal system impacts individual lives.
- Mothering from the Inside byISBN: 0791448509Explores how women in prison manage to mother their children from behind bars.
- Incarcerated Women byISBN: 9781498542111Publication Date: 2017-02-06The story of the rise of prisons and development of prison systems in the United States has been studied extensively in scholarship, but the experiences of female inmates in these institutions have not received the same attention. Historically, women incarcerated in prison, jails, and reformatories accounted for a small number of inmates across the United States. Early on, they were often held in prisons alongside men and faced neglect, exploitation, and poor living conditions. Various attempts to reform them, ranging from moral instruction and education to domestic training, faced opposition at times from state officials, prison employees, and even male prison reformers. Due to the consistent small populations and relative neglect the women often faced, their experiences in prison have been understudied. This collection of essays seeks to recapture the perspective on women's prison experience from a range of viewpoints. This edited collection will explore the challenges women faced as inmates, their efforts to exert agency or control over their lives and bodies, how issues of race and social class influenced experiences, and how their experiences differed from that of male inmates. Contributions extend from the early nineteenth century into the twenty-first century to provide an opportunity to examine change over time with regards to female imprisonment. Furthermore, the chapters examine numerous geographic regions, allowing for readers to analyze how place and environment shapes the inmate experience.