Public and Private Testimonies: Women and Prison in America and Abroad
Historically, the experiences, issues, and needs of women in prison have been overlooked in the larger conversations about the correctional system, sentencing, rehabilitation, and reform. Today, however, the issue is looming large as Massachusetts and Pioneer Valley residents debate energetically and mobilize publicly in response to state government proposals for a women’s jail in Chicopee. Current efforts underscore the substantial set of social, political, legal, and emotional issues that confront incarcerated women, those who work with and for them, and the families and individuals who live apart from them.
Cristina Rathbone, author of A World Apart, will discuss her efforts to document life for those incarcerated in MCI Framingham, the only women’s correctional facility in Massachusetts. American Prospect senior editor Tara McKelvey, who has written widely on domestic violence and on women in prisons here and abroad, has published searing accounts of women detainees at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib Prison. Her sobering interviews with former women detainees, conducted in Jordan last year, shed light on one of the most wrenching but still overlooked stories of the ongoing war in Iraq. Lysette Navarro, a poet, public speaker, and facilitator with Voices from Inside, is part of a dynamic community and national network that seeks to give voice to incarcerated women. At Syracuse University College of Law, Professor Paula C. Johnson teaches criminal law with a special focus on women in the criminal justice system. Her recent book, Inner Lives: Voices of African American Women in Prison, exposes the glaring inequalities of race and gender in court sentencing and penal institutions, and illuminates new approaches to social and criminal justice reform. Simone Weil Davis, MHC Visiting Associate Professor of English, will moderate this stimulating event and discussion.
Date: Thursday, November 3
Time: 7:00 PM
Speaker: Paula C. Johnson, Tara McKelvey, Lysette Navarro, and Cristina Rathbone
Place: Gamble Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College
Admission: Free and open to the public.