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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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"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
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Punishment does not work especially for women who sooner or later will be leaving the correctional system to begin to put their lives together.
Men guards need to be removed from women prisons and jails. How can other societies exclude male guards or have it set up where they can never be alone with a women, can be arranged but why does the abuse continue?
The justice and correctional system need to be blown up and start from scratch.
I found the accounts of medical neglect to be heart breaking, as were the stories about mistreatment of the mentally ill. The issues raised, especially the damaging effects of prolonged isolation, are very important issues that out society is neglecting to address. While this book focuses on these issues in women's prisons, the authors observations are just as applicable to men.
This book is not a detached theoretical look at the issue, it is very humane and personal work that will surprise readers and will hold your interest far more than you might anticipate. I highly recommend it.
I believe this book should be required reading in all university criminal justice and women's studies programs--and would be beneficial in the social work curriculum, as well.