Too Much Time: Women in Prison

From the Author's introduction:

The strategy used in women's prisons now is one of humiliation rather than rehabilitation. In France, toilets without seats or so much as a curtain for privacy were placed in the middle of cells occupied by up to six women. In most US states, children are forcibly separated from their mothers at birth. Twenty percent of women entering prison are pregnant and give birth there, often in handcuffs. Often, medical care is nonexistent. In Russia or India, you can die of a sore throat or an asthma attack in prison. In Arizona, women are chained together at the ankles and made to work on the highways. In prisons all over the world they suffer an accumulation of indignities until their spirits are broken.

In this groundbreaking study of over 140 riveting photographs and raw interviews, award-winning photojournalist Jane Evelyn Atwood tells the story of the changing population of women prisoners. For ten years, through nine countries around the world, Atwood has asked hard questions of hard women, photographing and tape-recording intimate encounters with prisoners incarcerated for a litany of offenses, from theft and drugs to murder and infanticide. Among the difficult questions Atwood addresses: Are women and men punished equally for crimes? Why is the prison population overwhelmingly poor, often mentally handicapped? How will society pay for these policies a generation later-and who is really being punished? Too Much Time tells us much about the roots of crime: poverty, abuse, illiteracy. Filled with truth, humanity, and pain, the book is a clarion call for change.

Since 1980 (in the U.S. alone), the number of women prisoners has increased tenfold, far beyond the rate of men, marking a major social upheaval and highlighting problems of a new order. Atwood gives her subjects the rare opportunity to speak for themselves about the consequences of their lives, their transgressions, and changing society's attitudes towards incarceration. She interviews inmates, as well as wardens, allowing us to see the faces and voices of those often reduced to statistics.

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