Victoria Law is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women and frequently writes about the intersections of incarceration, gender and resistance. You can find her work at victorialaw.net.
What Dr. Carolyn Sufrin learned over the course of more than four years providing reproductive care at the San Francisco County Jail is that jail was not only a place of punishment for many women, but also their safety net.
On July 28, 2016, Bresha, then age 14, was arrested on charges of killing her allegedly abusive father. Though the change will allow Bresha more movement, supporters point out that she'll still be confined.
"It doesn't take much digging to see what's there is trauma, layers and layers of trauma," said Dr. Elizabeth Fitelson during the morning panel of Arresting Survival, a recent New York City conference focusing on domestic violence survivors.
Officials in New York City have been working on a number of policy changes to address the continued issue of domestic violence throughout the boroughs. On Wednesday, they joined domestic violence service providers and advocates at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to discuss the ongoing crisis and the city’s latest efforts to reduce its toll.
Director Ava DuVernay avoids focusing on individual scapegoats to show viewers the cumulative effects of the racism that continues to drive policies of mass incarceration and mass criminalization. Even so, however, the film has a few flaws: namely, the absence of women's stories and those of activists working to change and overcome that culture of mass criminalization.
In both the Netflix series and real life, overcrowding has serious ramifications for those behind bars. But the issue isn't limited to privately run institutions; public prisons have been overflowing in many states for years.
Erika Rocha's was the first suicide of the year at Corona's California Institution for Women (CIW), which is currently at 130 percent capacity. CIW's suicide rate, however, is more than eight times the national rate for women behind bars.
Some states, such as Kentucky and, most recently, New Jersey, have taken steps to reform their bail systems. But many others, including Connecticut and New York, still rely on monetary bail to determine who can be released pending trial.
Under the Eighth Amendment, people in jails and prisons have a constitutional right to adequate health care. While many stories have examined that right when it comes to pregnancy behind bars, less is known about women’s access to abortion care.
In the newly released season of Orange Is the New Black, Daya Diaz must grapple with whether she should give her baby up for adoption or have the newborn go into foster care as she finishes her 36-month sentence. Diaz's plight reflects the real-life situation of incarcerated mothers around the country.
On April 28, a Korean immigrant and domestic abuse survivor named Nan-Hui Jo was sentenced to 175 days in jail and three years of probation after being convicted of misdemeanor child abduction. Now, she faces the threat of deportation and permanent separation from her daughter.
Too often, news stories about people in prison or jail use dehumanizing language to describe those under government control. The term “inmate” is the most pervasive of these words; it is widely used by judges, prison and jail officials and staff, and the media.
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