Brutally Honest By Felicia (Ohio Reformatory for Women) (OH) Forward By Christopher (Madison Correctional) (OH)
Few jails across the country are properly equipped to handle female prisoners. I know this because I’ve heard from female prisoners in 22 states. There’s no consistency. This is in stark contrast to the widespread standard states adhere to when handling male prisoners. Why is this?
In part 6 of this series ”From County Jail to Prison’‘ Jennifer in WI wrote about the dehumanizing journey she endured while being shuffled from county jail to county jail. I wish I could say that her experience was unique, but it isn’t.
What comes to mind when you hear the word jail? Some Hollywood image perhaps? Consider what doesn’t come to mind and you’ll be closer to the truth.
If I asked 100 people ”What comes to mind when you hear the word jail?” maybe 5 would speak of the female population. Sadly, those in jail, and those who run them, would answer this question similarly.
Women have been punished, disciplined and locked up for just as long as men. So how come we are forgotten when blueprints are being drawn up for these facilities? When procedures are being put into motion? And what about necessities for mother nature? They’re often nowhere on the list of supplies.
We have all of these ”ME TOO” movements, campaigns bringing awareness and giving women a voice. But what about the women behind bars? On a daily basis there are vulgar comments made to women just like myself, men undressing us with their eyes, coming into our shower and bathroom areas–not all, but some–making you feel like it’s more for their own curiosity and pleasures. What about us women feeling like we have to allow these men to have their way in fear of a trip to the hole? Or fear of retaliation? Where is our voice?
So the next time someone asks ‘What comes to mind when you hear the word jail?”, really think about it. What if your daughter, mother or sister was locked up? Would that change your opinion on how things are for women behind bars?
Felicia (ORW) (Ohio)