The Awful Truth About Women’s Lives in Prison


Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prison provides a chilling glimpse of the human rights abuses suffered by women in U.S. prisons.  The book is essentially a set of edited interview transcripts, with each chapter providing a first-person account of a different currently or formerly incarcerated woman. What these narrators reveal about their […]

Troy Davis Is Gone, But the Struggle Goes On


Like many, I was glued to Democracy Now’s live broadcast on the night of Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 6 p.m. until shortly after 11:08 p.m., the time that Troy Davis was killed by the state of Georgia, where I reside. Suddenly, the students’ essays that I was supposed to be grading or the dinner I […]

Trans Woman Sent to Men’s Prison After Alleging Rape by Guard

Trans Woman Sent to Men's Prison

TRIGGER WARNING: Material about sexual assault. Recently, a woman was allegedly orally raped by a prison guard at Riverside Correctional Facility in Philadelphia. She reported the assault to authorities and an investigation was opened. During that investigation, officials learned that she was not a cisgender woman, as they had apparently been assuming, and promptly transferred […]

DNA Evidence CAN Stop Serial Rapists

DNA Evidence Can Stop Rape

It was an ordinary day in October, 2002. Julie Weil and her infant son were picking up Julie’s daughter, three-year-old Emily, from her Florida preschool at  noon. As Julie buckled her daughter into her car seat, she felt a sudden blow to the head. That day, Julie was raped four times in front of her […]

Kissing Is Forbidden


Just outside the town of Ponce, on Puerto Rico’s southern coast, is a prison for girls. Although the place is named “Center for Detention and Treatment” (Centro de Detención y Tratamiento Social), little by way of “treatment” goes on there. Instead, the Ponce facility looks, feels, and functions in many ways like an adult prison. […]

42 Years After Stonewall, A Look at Policing of Queer and Trans People


Forty-two years ago, the Stonewall riot was sparked by a police round-up of trans women and drag queens. Now, a new anthology from AK Press, Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, shines a bright light on how trans people are still “pathologized, terrorized and confined” by the U.S. justice system. Below, Captive […]

Gender Behind Bars


Ophelia De’lonta, a transgender woman inmate housed in a men’s prison, is suing the state of Virginia for failing to provide her with adequate medical care. When the Virginia Department of Corrections denied De’Lonta’s request for genital surgery, she attempted self-castration. De’Lonta’s story is part of a much larger picture. It is all-too-common for prisons […]

Accused Rapists Released in Notorious Pakistani Case

2005 Glamour Magazine "Woman of the Year" Awards

It was shocking when Mukhtar Mai was gang-raped by half a dozen men nearly a decade ago, but what surprised the world even more was the courageous decision by this Pakistani woman from the remote village of Meerwala to go public with her rape, breaking a stigma of silence in Pakistan. Mai’s fight for justice […]

Trans Inmate Asks Calif. Prisons to Pay for Sex-Reassignment Surgery

Blurry Prison

Lyralisa Stevens, a transgender inmate in Vacaville, Calif., faces the daily threat of sexual violence behind bars. As a transwoman prisoner, she’s 13 times more likely to be assaulted than a non-trans inmate–and she’s asking the state of California to protect her. In a landmark lawsuit, Stevens wants the state to provide sex-reassignment surgeries for […]

No Jail Time for Lawrence Taylor

Black Eye

Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor will not spend a single day in jail for paying to have sex with a 16-year-old runaway on May 6, 2010, who was allegedly forced into prostitution. She was escorted by her trafficker to Taylor’s hotel room in suburban Ramapo, New York, with a black eye and other facial injuries, where he paid $300 to have sex with her.