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Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System Paperback – November 2, 2007

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Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System + Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (November 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580051952
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580051958
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Like mirrors in a house of horrors, the women in Talvi's book reflect the distorted collective flaws of our society: violence, addiction, poverty, pervasive low self-esteem and families trapped in chronic financial and emotional crises." -- Ms. Magazine

"This comprehensive and passionately argued indictment of the inhuman treatment of female prisoners is the sort of shocking expose too seldom seen in these media days of so much celebrity fluff." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"What's most affecting about Talvi's book is that each female prisoner - whether she's a killer or a pawn in the drug wars - gets a chance to tell her story. Women Behind Bars is both a tremendous labor of love and an example of the kind of justice that compassion and diligence can produce, even if it may not be sufficient to open the minds of those who decide how women live and die in the U.S. criminal justice system." -- Bitch Magazine

"...Talvi's solid research, poignant anecdotes and one-on-one interviews with prisoners and correction officers make Women Behind Bars a compelling well-rounded read." -- Seattle Magazine

Talvi interviewed hundreds of imprisoned girls and women, and she expertly combines their stories with the disturbing facts and figures that, on their own, don't inspire nearly enough outrage. The author's vivid descriptions of these women's lives, and her exasperation over their "invisible struggle,' render Women Behind Bars a surprisingly readable treatise on a cumbersome topic. -- UTNE Magazine

More About the Author

By nature and by profession, I am thoroughly curious about other human beings on a daily basis. It's in my blood to pay attention to what's happening all around us: watching social cues, patterns of behavior, subtle and egregious violations of human dignity. It's neither fair nor appropriate for this kind of curiosity to be a one-way process. My relationship to the people I write about isn't a disconnected, detached one.

With all that said, here's a bit about me for those of you curious to read more about what I do, why I do it, and the people and social environments that shaped the woman I am today.

I am a full-time, investigative journalist and essayist with credits in over 75 publications, including The Nation, Salon and the Christian Science Monitor. In fall of 2005, I became a Senior Editor at In These Times magazine. My book, Women Behind Bars, is the culmination of years of research, prison visits, and interviews with prisoners, juvenile detainees, advocates, law enforcement, and correctional employees.

The hybrid nature of my ancestry led me, early on, to pursue multicultural sourcing and reporting as a constant in my work. It is essential for me to approach the concepts and subjects of my articles with respect, and to begin each story with an open and questioning mind. In this sense, I consider my profession to be a blessing: I am always learning about something new, constantly being exposed to different kinds of people, ideas, life experiences, and ways of looking at the world. (The business and profit-minded aspects of this profession are another matter altogether.)

My articles on social issues--with a particular emphasis on criminal justice, ethnicity and gender--have garnered 12 Society of Professional Journalists regional awards in the Pacific Northwest. I was honored in 2005, 2006 and 2007 to receive four consecutive PASS awards from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for excellence in magazine journalism, as well as a 2006 national New American Media award for immigration-related reporting.

My work has also also appeared in numerous book anthologies including but not limited to: Body Outlaws (Seal Press/Avalon), The W Effect: Bush's War on Women (The Feminist Press, , Prison Nation (Routledge), as well as the forthcoming Prison Profiteers (The New Press), and It's So You (Seal Press), edited by Michelle Tea.

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