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Collection of essays and art by scholars, artists and activists both in and out of prison that reveal the many dimensions of women’s incarcerated experiences.
Offering nuanced portraits of women’s lives inside razor wire and prison walls, Razor Wire Women puts incarcerated women in dialogue with scholars, artists, educators, and activists who live outside of prisons but work on issues connected to the prison industrial complex. Women make up the fastest-growing group within the U.S. prison population, yet prison scholarship largely overlooks the struggles of incarcerated women, and their voices are often silenced both in and out of the prison infrastructure. From the vantage points of those both inside and outside of prisons, this collection of essays and art illuminates many of the distinct experiences and concerns of incarcerated women, including abuse and rape; the policing of women; incarcerated motherhood; mental health issues in prisons; incarcerated women’s artistic and cultural production; and prisons’ impact on families, health, and sexuality. Combining the transcendence, hope, and clarity of art with powerful analytical and conceptual tools, Razor Wire Women reveals the gendered dimensions of incarceration in the United States.
"Jodie Michelle Lawston and Ashley E. Lucas have created a powerful call to action, a reminder that resistance is not futile. With powerful images, testimony, intersectional theorizing, and examples of educational and visual organizing, Razor Wire Women offers essential readings for organizers and scholars—both inside and outside of women’s prisons and detention centers. This is a central read for courses in women’s and gender studies, justice, and sociology, and for all invested in interrupting our nation’s expanding carceral nation.” — Erica R. Meiners, author of Right to Be Hostile: Schools, Prisons, and the Making of Public Enemies
Jodie Michelle Lawston is Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies at California State University San Marcos and the author of Sisters Outside: Radical Activists Working for Women Prisoners, also published by SUNY Press. Ashley E. Lucas is Assistant Professor of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina and the author and performer of the play Doin’ Time: Through the Visiting Glass.