‘Criminalizing the Symptoms’ – review by Karla Mantilla from ‘Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there?’

“Beth Richie spent some time listening to battered black women incarcerated at Rikers Island and has written a remarkable book rooted in their life experiences. This book is a departure from much of what is written about women in prison because it takes into account the totality of their life experience and it examines the social forces that act to structure them in a way that women end up incarcerated.”

Author(s): karla mantilla

Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), pp. 13-14

Criminalizing the Symptoms (Link)


‘Women in Prison Tell It Like It Is’ – from Off Our Backs, Women’s News Journal (2001)

“I am a woman. I am a battered woman. I am a battered woman incarcerated with a life sentence, no possibility of parole. In our society, being a battered woman is a life sentence anyway. I don’t see the point of underscoring it by the courts.
A battered woman is sometimes faced with the choice of kill or be killed.
If she gives up a life of physical, sexual, verbal and/or emotional abuse by her partner by killing him, she dooms herself to the same treatment by the “system.”
A battered woman is isolated from family and friends by her abuser; the system does the same thing. An abuser strips a woman of her identity and dignity; the system does the same thing…”
Author(s): Darcy K. War Bonnett, Deborah Bounds, Karen R. Paese and Shannon R. Houser

Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), pp. 9-12

Women in Prison Tell it Like it is (Link)

(Photo taken at an exhibition: ‘Woman Behind Bars’)

‘Windows to Freedom: Radical Feminism at a Jail Library’ – by Karla Mantilla and Claudine O’Leary (2001)

“I volunteered in a jail library called Windows to Freedom in Chicago. The library is open about 5 mornings a week, usually from 9 to 12. It was started back in 1996 by women who had a long history of very radical feminist organizing. It was a very feminist and very lesbian base of organizing that created this library. We offer some pretty radical books in the library partly because we have some pretty radical folks who volunteer and donate books. We offer selections that criticize the criminal justice industry as a whole, and many books that deal with racism. We have a whole women’s studies section that has all the classics, plus anything else that we’re able to find.”

Author(s): Karla Mantilla and Claudine O’Leary

Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), pp. 6-7, 17

Radical Feminism at a Jail Library (Link)

‘Women and the Prison Industrial Complex’ – by Val Codd (2001)

“The U.S. war on drugs has become a war on women, specifically women of color. According to a Department of Justice Report, since federal drug laws ushered in mandatory sentencing in 1986, the incarceration rate for women has increased 400 percent, and the figure for black women is 800 percent. While the current rate of imprisonment for black women is more than eight times that for white women, the rate for Latina women is four times that for white women, according
to Amnesty International.”

Author(s): Val Codd

Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), p. 8

Women & The Prison Industrial Complex (Link)

‘Trapped by Patriarchy: Women in Prison’ by Temima Fruchter (2001)

“Females are secondary.”
“This statement, made in 1998 by Andrew Winston, the chairman of the Virginia Board of Corrections, essentially sums up the position of women in the larger scheme of the U.S. prison hierarchy. Winston conceded that this is the unfortunate case in terms of the design of many American prisons and inmate services. Most of these services, he stated at the 1998 Friends of Incarcerated Women conference, are built to benefit males.
Because of this still-true case of nationwide neglect, such things as “male guards touching prisoners’ breasts and genitals during daily pat-downs and strip searches, watching women as they shower and dress and…selling women to male inmates for sex” were cited as being “common practice” by a 1999 Report by Amnesty International entitled Not Part of My Sentence: Violations of the Human Rights of Women in Custody.

Author(s): Temima Fruchter

Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), p.1

Trapped by Patriarchy – Women in Prison (Link)

‘Warnings to Women: Police Advice and Women’s Safety in Britain’ by Elizabeth Stanko

Warnings to Women: Police Advice and Women’s Safety in Britain

Author: Elizabeth Stanko

Source: Violence Against Women 1996 2: 5

ABSTRACT: ‘This article examines police and other governmental crime prevention literature advising women about personal safety. Through a radical feminist perspective, my personal narrative includes a historical context for developments in Britain that give rise to a social and political climate within which individual responsibility for avoiding violence is paramount.

The purpose of this article is to raise theoretical questions about the effect of this context on us, as women. As a feminist, I also argue for the usefulness of a radical feminist perspective to inform our thinking about avoiding men’s violence and ensuring women’s safety.’

Police Advice and Women’s Safety in Britain, Violence Against Women-1996-STANKO-5-24 (Link)

‘Theorizing About Violence’ by Elizabeth Stanko

‘Theorizing About Violence: Observations From the Economic and Social Research Council’s Violence Research Program’

Author: Elizabeth Stanko

Source: Violence Against Women, Volume 12 Number 6, June 2006 pp.543-555 Sage Publications

Abstract: The director of the Economic and Social Research Council Violence Research Program (VRP) in the United Kingdom discusses and debates the impacts of the program in the context of contemporary ideas about violence and current U.K. policy and practice in the field. The projects in the program included 2 historical studies and 18 contemporary
studies of violence in the home, schools, prisons, neighborhoods, leisure establishments, massage parlors, and on the street. For example, studies focusing on the nighttime economy in U.K. cities, on paramilitary punishment beatings in Northern Ireland, and on violence experienced and perpetrated by girls are discussed here. Five projects addressed
gendered violence, and three addressed domestic violence specifically. Lessons from the VRP are drawn out in this article in a personal account. These lessons include the fact that violence is not hidden, that the meanings of violence are gendered, and that people’s accounts of violence matter.

Elizabeth Stanko Violence Against Women is not HIDDEN myths and lies -2006-Stanko-543-55 (Link)

‘Gender Effects Along the Juvenile Justice System: Evidence of a Gendered Organization’

‘This article provides an example of the unequal outcomes generated by humans interacting in a gendered organizational context. Acker’s concept of gendered institutions is applied to a juvenile justice program. Using data from court records and program files, official outcomes for boys and girls are compared.

Findings indicate that variation in the level of program implementation produced an increase, rather than a decrease, in the odds of female youth being charged with a new offense. They also indicate that girls who committed a new offense were much more likely than comparable boys to be
returned to residential treatment, even when controlling for the severity of their reoffense.

Taken together, these findings illustrate the reproduction of gender inequality consistent with operations of a gendered organization.’

In other words; in comparison to young men and boys, young women and girls are disproportionately punished for similar crimes.

Author(s): Nicole T. Carr, Kenneth Hudson, Roma S. Hanks, Andrea N. Hunt

Source: Feminist Criminology, Volume 3 Number 1, January 2008 pp.25-43 Sage Publications

Effects of Gendered Juvenile Justice Feminist Criminology-2008-Carr-25-43 (Link)

‘Anti-Feminist Backlash and Gender-Relevant Crime Initiatives in the Global Context’

Are the Gains Made by Second-Wave Feminism in Criminology being Obliterated?

Author(s): Karen Joe Laidler, Ruth M. Mann

Source: Feminist Criminology, Volume 3 Number 2, April 2008 pp.79-81 Sage Publications

anti-feminist backlash and Feminist Criminology-2008-Laidler-79-81 (Link)