Women Lifers by The number of women in United States prisons has increased dramatically since the 1980s, and has in proportion outpaced that of men's incarceration. Despite these numbers, incarcerated women, and women lifers specifically, represent a relatively small percentage of the overall correctional and lifer populations. As such, women lifers are easy to overlook, discount, and diminish as such a small group. Many women lifers perceive themselves as a forgotten group; most often those whom we "lock up" and "throw away the key". They feel excluded from prison programming within and from their own families outside. They feel stigmatized by staff and other women in prison. Aging fast, many have real fears about declining health and losing family members over lengthy stretches of time. However, women lifers are some of the most resilient and strongest women who survive life in prison with the support of each other and religious faith, often transforming themselves in the process of doing time. While most of the women had extensive histories of trauma, abuse, and mental health issues, few had prior experience as offenders. Despite the term "lifer", many of these women will be released from prison after serving long sentences. Beyond this basic profile, there is much more to learn and share about the lives of women lifers. Focusing on women's pathways into prison, the ways they cope with life behind bars, and their diverse reentry needs, Meredith Dye and Ronald Aday give voice to women lifers and place their experiences within the larger context of penal harm policies. The authors look at their physical and mental health, family connections, adjustment to prison, prison supports and activities, and experiences with abuse/trauma; while also looking at the growing public and policy concerns over mass incarceration in general. Women Lifers provides insight into the lives of incarcerated women before, during, and following a life sentence, especially the population of those serving life sentences. With the growing numbers of women lifers in the United States, the authors emphasize the importance for the public and policymakers to understand the unique circumstances that brought these women to prison, the policies that keep them there, and the major challenges they face in carving out a successful life in prison and beyond.
Call Number: HV 9471 .D94 2019
Publication Date: 2019-06-08