Tablets changed the lives of the incarcerated women I work with. Mothers could take part and pride in the educational achievements of their young sons and daughters. Women saw videos of their friends getting married, or their cousins blowing out birthday candles; photos of newborn nieces and nephews could be shared almost in real time from their siblings.
I’ve got a big family and lots of friends, so every year I send tons of holiday greetings. But two weeks ago, I spent most of the day writing cards to people I’ve never met—and these messages felt as special as any that I’ve ever written. That’s because they were for some of the most marginalized people in society: incarcerated survivors of rape.
Along with many of the women I was incarcerated with, I used my own homemade products rather than beg for more from an unconcerned correctional officer or risk bleeding through my clothes. As a result of my creativity to survive with some modicum of dignity, I ended up needing a hysterectomy when I got home.
Hajer Mansoor and Medina Ali are both currently being held in the Isa Town Female Detention Centre. These are their stories—in their own words.
The use of solitary confinement for incarcerated pregnant people is an indefensible and cruel practice. Unfortunately, it’s more common than you might think.
A new computer coding class at an Oklahoma prison gives women hope for their futures.
As the 2020 candidates have begun to roll out criminal justice reform proposals, we cannot forget the 219,000 women currently incarcerated in the United States. Tragically, women are often overlooked in plans meant to reduce the number of Americans held in jail cells or sent to prison each year.
We at Ms. magazine want women in prison to know they are seen and valued. Because domestic violence shelters can be almost as isolating as prisons—and often lack libraries or any reading material, just as many prisons do—we decided to include women in those shelters, too. That’s why we started the Ms. Magazine Prison and Domestic Violence Shelter Program.
As thousands of civil immigration detainees continue to be “sentenced” to solitary confinement, where they are denied proper medical care and attention, each of us face a fundamental question: Will we permit through inaction, or dedicate our efforts to halt, ongoing violations of law and policy?
“Support is crucial for establishing and making broadly available specialized treatment programs for drug-addicted pregnant and breastfeeding women wherever possible.”