The Lives of Women Behind Bars (Pt. 10): Inmate 97298 & Other Difficult Things


By Christopher

They say that Incarceration is universal for women and men, but I disagree with that notion. That’s an opinion penned by the uninformed or state administrators pushing canned narratives. Frankly, there are stark differences.

Within this narrative are hidden the emotional struggles we prisoners are faced with. This, in all honesty, is the most difficult aspect of imprisonment. Unable to affect change, left alone to struggle and grasp at hope. Incarceration is about overcoming adversity, learning about yourself, how to cope, and how to accept the things you can’t control. It’s about developing the skill set to grow and move forward. But, before any of this occurs, there’s a lot of gnashing of the teeth and a lot of soul searching.

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The Lives Of Women Behind Bars (Pt. 9): County Jail by Felicia

In the post “From County Jail to Prison”  Jennifer (WWRC) (WI) describes what we women go through while incarcerated in a penal system built for men. Thank you Jennifer for sharing your experience and giving other women the courage to tell their own stories.

She and I share a lot of commonalities when it comes to the extended stays we had in county jail. There’s also some differences, which made me want to tell you about my personal

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The Lives of Women Behind Bars (Pt. 8): Brutally Honest

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.


Brutally Honest
By Felicia

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)

The Lives of Women Behind Bars (Pt. 7): Poetry


The Lives of Women Behind Bars (Pt. 7):  Poetry

By Jennifer (Taycheedah Correctional) (WI)
By Victoria (Womens Huron Valley) (MI)
Forward By Christopher (Madison Correcional) (OH)


One of my favorite poems is the masterwork titled “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” by Oscar Wilde. Wilde was a prisoner at H.M. Prison, in Reading, Berkshire England in 1896. He wrote about the day to day struggles of Victorian prison life and the horrors he witnessed. Despite time a distance separating us modern day prisoners from his words, we can relate in many ways to the horrors and despair he witnessed.

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The Lives of Women Behind Bars (Pt. 6): From county jail to prison


The Lives of Women Behind Bars (Pt. 6): From county jail to prison

By Jennifer (Taycheedah Correctional) (WI)
Forward By Christopher (Madison Correctional) (OH)



One of the things every prisoner remembers is their experience incarcerated at the county or city jail as they awaited conviction. County jails are filthy and unsanitary places. They’re rough. They’re unfriendly and they’re the first glimpse of a life to come.

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