Girls, Women, and Mass Incarceration: The Problem Nobody’s Talking About

Content note: The following article includes a description of a child’s death.

Last Tuesday, I attended an understated congressional briefing centered on an issue that greatly impacts a considerable chunk of the population. Too often the injustice of mass incarceration is framed as a male problem. What’s often erased from the narrative and the collective consciousness is the toll this epidemic plays on girls and women.

Michele Goodwin, panel organizer and professor of law at University of California, Irvine, opened the discussion with the fact that the United States incarcerates more women than any other nation in the world. This shouldn’t be surprising seeing as we’re also globally ranked number one in size of prison population, which can largely be attributed to the failed drug war, a trillion-dollar sunk-cost approach that only results in bloated juvenile and adult detention facilities.

Goodwin is no stranger to excoriating the gratuitous culture of mass incarceration that is politically romanticized, legally reinforced, and socially accepted without critique. While this issue affects men—particularly of racial minorities at astounding rates—focus on this appalling trend usually ignores the plight of girls and women who are also jailed at extremely high rates.

She noted that healthcare behind bars is “extraordinarily absent from a public discourse,” listing some of the dehumanizing ways women are neglected when it comes to sexual abuse, breast and ovarian cancer, and raising children behind bars.

Many women who are incarcerated in the US are mothers who were once the primary caregivers of their children, leading to the placement of children in an ever-expanding foster care system. Unable to bear the demands, foster homes then resort to an “aging out” process which produces underprepared eighteen-year-olds who end up unemployed, homeless, pregnant, or incarcerated.

Mass incarceration also has a profound negative impact on children not in foster homes, Goodwin added, citing the research of her sociologist collaborator Kristin Turney. The negative psychological and physical consequences of this rinse-and-repeat and “tough-on-crime” system exacerbate problems rather than provide solutions.

Amy Fettig, senior staff counsel for the ACLU’s National Prison Project, focused on the inhumane practice of solitary confinement, a cruel form of punishment characterized by extreme social isolation and environmental deprivation leading to social atrophy and even mental breakdowns.

While stories like that of Albert Woodfox—a man unconscionably subjected to forty-three years of solitary confinement—grace the media every so often, what’s often lost in news reports is that in some states, women are placed in solitary confinement at equal or even higher rates than men despite that most women are incarcerated for nonviolent crimes and that it’s extremely rare for them to commit violent acts while imprisoned. Often, women are subject to this horrific treatment for trivial disciplinary reasons, mental health issues, or retaliation from prison guards for reporting abuse or rape.

Fettig explains that the criminal justice system is being misused as an ill-equipped mental ward. Since over 50 percent of incarcerated women suffer from mental illness, and prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers aren’t equipped to be mental health hospitals, officials often deal with women exhibiting the symptoms of mental illness by placing them in solitary confinement.

Panelist Carolyn Sufrin, assistant professor and physician at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, presented shocking information about the gross deficiencies and neglect of gender-specific health needs. Sufrin spoke to how criminal justice system officials continually neglect the well-known medical risks of shackling women while they’re in labor. Despite the fact that the United Nations, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and other professional medical organizations have called it dangerous and inhumane, pregnant women continue to be shackled during labor, even in states that have laws against it.

Incarcerated women routinely experience injustice when it comes to reproductive services and poor access to healthcare. While institutionalized, some women have been coerced to undergo unlawful sterilizations. Many want to start birth control before they get released and think of their reentry into society as a new opportunity, but very few jails and prisons offer this possibility. Likewise, there are those who do want to get pregnant and focus on motherhood when released. Even so, there’s very little preconception counseling available to educate them about healthy nutrition and the risks of drug addiction.

Sufrin also cited the case of Nicole Guerrero, a pregnant inmate who was knowingly ignored for eighteen hours who ended up delivering the baby in her jail cell. Sadly, her baby was strangulated by the umbilical cord and didn’t survive.

ACLU racial justice staff attorney Nusrat Choudhury wrapped up the panel discussion with an explanation of the bureaucratic pipeline that has funneled tens of thousands of people into prison for their inability to pay fines or fees, not because they’ve done things society has determined should be punished by incarceration—a phenomenon encouraged by the economic decline.

Since the economic recession, what we’ve seen throughout the country are declining state and local budgets. This shortfall in public funding for government has motivated a move towards trying to fund public government by collecting fines and fees from people who are too poor to pay. A report published by the ACLU titled “In For a Penny” documents how jurisdictions around the country jail people because they can’t pay fines.

It’s the drive for municipal income that transforms policing in places like Ferguson into a revenue production agency rather than an organization actually focused on protecting the public. And this revenue seems to come mainly from people of color who are disproportionately incarcerated due to the deep-seated racial biases present in our culture and systematized in our criminal justice policies. Based on decades of empirical evidence, Choudhury stated, “There are clear metrics that show people of color are stopped [far out of] disproportion to their numbers of the population.”

Despite studies showing people of color don’t offend at rates that are dramatically disproportionate to that of whites, they’re ticketed, fined, and arrested at rates that simply aren’t justified by statistics.

A tendency to view poor people of color as cash registers has become more common nationwide. Choudhury shared the story of Qumotria Kennedy, a mother struggling to survive and provide for her children in post-Katrina Biloxi, Mississippi. Unable to pay traffic tickets, Kennedy was placed under the supervision of a for-profit probation company operating at no charge to the city with all expenses paid by its destitute probationers. She was soon sucked into the cycle of fines, debt collection probation, and jail time, and in the process, she lost her job.

Those caught in this tangle of injustice endure devastating consequences to their employment, family life, mental health, and their potential to contribute positively to society. Lawsuits have been filed across the country challenging these practices, yet it continues.

The perverse, exploitative schemes of the prison industrial complex blatantly disregard the humanity of many who are just trying to survive. For far too long we as a society have been indoctrinated to hold warped views about what does and doesn’t make someone a “criminal.” It’s time we scrutinize these beliefs as well as the specious justifications for our jail-happy legal system.

 

For more on this subject, the ACLU has published findings related to the over-incarceration of women as well as a comprehensive look at women in solitary confinement (aptly named “Worse Than Second-Class”).

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  • Airis Damon

    This is truly deplorable. I remember Cicely McMillan was sent to Rikers Island jail for 58 days. She was regularly put in solitary. The experience was so traumatic it took weeks for her to be able to speak normally. “The Occupy Wall Street activist had planned to meet her supporters at the Rikers Island jail complex where she served 58 days for elbowing a police officer during her arrest at a protest. McMillan says she struck out instinctively when her breast was grabbed from behind.” – http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/2/occupy_wall_street_activist_cecily_mcmillan

    This is just pure madness.

  • Lawrence Huff

    I give yoga and mindfulness classes to inmates in Miami. I can verify what you say point by point.

    One thing, a lot of our women seem to do solitary at some point …but you know, it does not seem to do them much harm — perhaps because they know how to meditate and the duration is short.

    Another thing, we got classes in the psychiatric jail wards. Their life is so dull cuz they lock them up almost all the time. For that reason our program (any program!) is so welcome! But even my donated time costs the county cuz they need to have 2 officers present (on overtime pay).

    I also observe that everyone of these unfortunates is as much of a person as I am, and want to have a good life. i hope society will find a way for them to do so when they get out.

  • Vera institute presented a man from Germany in charge of prisons and is working well. Restorative justice. Impressed me when he said: our goal is do what we can for each individual to make sure they never return,
    Comparing our system to theirs we are barbaric .

    We may have more weapons than anyone but rate lowest in civilized response when come to crime and justice. Our system is actually causing more crimes, make it difficult for people to heal or be ok when they get out and our laws or mandating sentences are the work of sick minds.
    We jail people that other countries do not for same offense. We pass a law make something a crime and therefore create criminals out of thin air. We have prosecutors who act like idiots rather than seek justice, police who extract false confessions and judges who have no wisdom .in addition we use informant whose job is to create more crime to justify their existence. People with no conscience everywhere.
    Shame on you America.

  • Lazy Jack

    It is so darn easy to stay out of jail it is ridiculous. I have no sympathy for these women. The consequences of their actions are plain as day to them and they still commit these crimes and continue the behavior.

    • Pacis Beatus

      Maybe so Lazy Jack, but Nicole Guerrero’s baby did not have to die. What fault did the baby have? Even if you don’t agree, take the time to read that particular article by clicking on the link. It was as if I was reading a story out of a third world dungeon, and instead it is my own country. It is that disturbing.

      • Lazy Jack

        A baby is never at fault. Unfortunately, malpractice happens everywhere. Being in jail does not help your case, so don’t put yourself in that position. Flint, Mi. is an entirely different case of Gov’t failure of the people.

        • Pacis Beatus

          We are both right Lazy Jack. There are options for staying out of jail, and malpractice exists in many places, AND a baby is never at fault. You do not need to give sympathy for the mother. I think readers simply want acknowledgement that the level of negligence causing the death of that baby was so especially egregious and flagrant that it points to a system on the verge of failure. I am not sure where the Flint thing came from (I skimmed the thread and could not find the original Flint reference). However, I think the two could be tied as symptoms of government failure and how we as citizens need to be ever vigilant. You did not say if you read the article. Please read it if you haven’t. Anyway, wishing you well. Peace out.

  • mdhome

    Where is the logic of spending many, many thousands of dollars to lock up someone who cannot pay a few hundred dollars for a minor offence , looks like poor financial management on the part of government officials.

    • Lazy Jack

      Since you cannot figure this out, I will tell you. Ready? To punish them so they do not repeat the behavior.

      • mdhome

        Sooooooooooo, you would love to spend several hundred thousand dollars, just because someone had a taillight out on their car. Glad to see you like to spend all this money, but there are others who wonder just who is being punished.

        • Lazy Jack

          There you go again, typing before thinking. It does not cost several hundred thousand dollars for a tail light ticket anywhere in the US. The maximum jail time I have found for a tail light is 30 days, which is ridiculous, and that is only if you can not pay the fine. Seems to be a good deterrent to not keeping your lights working don’t you think?

          • mdhome

            LAZY fits you, The thousands being spent keeping a person in jail because they have no money is a punishment on the taxpayer, you need some reading comprehension skills drilled into your head there Jack. OK 30 days for a tail light ticket, but you still need to pay the fine and if you do not have the money, then you go back to jail until you have the money, it also is hard to go to a job to make money if you are locked up in a jail, then they add fees because you did not pay the fine, then add interest and soon you are a permanent prison resident. Did you ever check out how expensive prison is for the taxpayers of this country? look it up Lazy.

          • Lazy Jack

            I can read just fine. You clearly said, Hundreds of Thousands. I looked in my local jail and couldn’t find a single one out of over 600 members. You know why? Because they don’t jail for it, they suspend their license when they don’t pay and put a real hurt on them and give them a real purpose for jail when they get caught driving. So, keep those light burning.

          • mdhome

            Still being lazy, I see.

          • Lazy Jack

            Your still being ignorant. See how easy it is?

          • mdhome

            I guess you are not only lazy but your laziness is making you the ignorant one here.

          • Lazy Jack

            Unlike your ignorant self, I educated myself on this before vomiting of the mouth like you. That is the opposite of lazy, you should try it.

          • mdhome

            I did, you didn’t

          • Lazy Jack

            And you are a liar. I am not going to dialogue with you anymore. It is a waste of keypresses.

          • Kyle Riggs

            Dude you are SO inaccurate and mdhome is 100% accurate. You misunderstand his purpose of referencing hundreds of thousands. You really need to re read his initial statement… you are super confused. I’m not saying I don’t agree with your point…I’m saying you did not comprehend anything he meant. I can explain if you’d like

          • Lazy Jack

            Wonderful, what happened to education. I don’t need you to explain. He is trying to group together ALL the imaginary offenders piled up in jails costing tons of money to get to his Hundreds of thousands. They are not there. Look at the current inmate list of any jail right now, Dude.

          • Kyle Riggs

            I added many. many links for you to research for yourself, but it doesn’t approve posting other links on here…. So I will do some of the work for you. This is ONE county’s example. ONE. Happy reading!
            So ABC 7 decided to look at the numbers. The Office of Court Administration reported in 2015 there were 47, 627 class C misdemeanor cases, which is where all traffic tickets fall. Five cases were dismissed for indigency. Another 318 cases were satisfied with community service. That is less than one percent. Yet, 9,123 or 20 percent were completed with jail time in the Randall County jail. Compare that information to the poverty rate and the numbers do not come close to aligning. Census data shows the Texas state poverty rate is 17 percent and in Potter County it is almost 22 percent. Here is what the court said about the discrepancy:

            “I don’t know what the answer is to that,” said Medley. “I think there would be a social scientist who would really like to look at that, too, and see what those poverty rates vs. criminal justice issues.”

            That time in jail can drive people already struggling deeper into poverty.

            “You miss payments on other stuff like your car payment or your apartment or your house,” said Blackburn. “It means you lose out on getting jobs.”

            Calculating the cost of jailing people who cannot pay is tricky. That is because cases do not equal people. A person could have more than one case open at a time. Here is what we do know: The Randall County jail told ABC 7 it costs $50 a day to house someone who did not pay a traffic ticket. Blackburn and Hoffman estimate the average stay in jail to clear traffic fines is about six days.

            “We’re talking about thousands of people a year,” said Blackburn. “This is not a small number of people.”

            We are not talking a small amount of tax money, either.

            The city pays almost $2 million a year for jail beds in Randall County.

            Municipal Court is a money maker for the city. The city’s finance director told ABC 7 that traffic tickets generate about $3 million annually and provides three percent of the general fund.

          • Lazy Jack

            We are talking about vehicle light violations costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Try to keep up. Traffic ticket violations can be anything from running stop signs, traffic lights, DUI, reckless driving, failure to yield right of way etc. They have a penalty to keep everyone safe. Following the law is not an economic issue.

      • Kyle Riggs

        So they don’t repeat the behavior? The behavior of being poor? Also he was saying the government/tax payers pays hundreds of thousands of dollars on imprisoning people for not having the funds to pay for court and traffic fees. He is NOT saying the prisoner is paying hundreds of thousands in fees. He is trying to get through to you that it is backwards that if a person does not have money for fees and is incarcerated over this, than WE end up paying more to imprison this person than they were behind in fees they owed. So because the government put someone in jail for not giving them money, they end up losing even more money in the process of punishment. NOT THAT THE PRISONER OWED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS

        • Lazy Jack

          Where do you get being poor from this? Even poor people are smart enough to not break the law aren’t they? Or are you saying that poor people are not smart enough? If you break the law, there are consequences for that. Society accepts that it costs money. Penalizing them hopefully prevents repeat behavior. You may be correct, perhaps they are not smart enough.

          • Kyle Riggs

            We are talking about people being jailed for not being able to AFFORD fees. Having a taillight out is not an imprisonable offense. Not being able to afford to fix your tail light and than getting further into debt in being unable to afford the fees and the subsequent late fees that are accrued on top of that and ending up in jail for not paying said fees, is not about being poor?
            You don’t have to care about this aspect of this issue or agree it is pertinent. All I was pointing out to begin with was clarifying what mdhome initial comment was in reference to. All mdhome was saying was how paying the cost to jail someone because they didn’t pay only adds up to more debt and tax payers money being funneled to the prison system and less money for the government…. which is backwards since they were jailing them for not giving them the money in the first place! He said how is it logical to spend $ to lock up someone who cannot pay a few hundred dollars for a minor offence , looks like poor financial management on the part of government officials. That was his point. Mdhome was just pointing out the irony in that fact. It wasn’t a debatable, inflammatory comment. Then, I was just pointing out where you had diverged in discussing the same topic as he was. You weren’t having the same conversation. All I was saying was your responses were not in reference to his point, and they still aren’t. I was not debating your stance, I was pointing out you were basically answering an algebra question with a geometry formula. Your point may be correct, but it wasn’t a response to the initial statement.
            Abstract conversation isn’t in everyone’s wheel house, I understand.
            I will save my energy for someone real.

          • Lazy Jack

            The conversation changed from the original post of jailing people for failing to pay fines for minor traffic offenses, with his outrageous reply that several hundreds of thousands are spent on someone who had a tail light out. Feel free to read it above. As I said above, even the poor can follow the law and not commit traffic offenses, and that does not cost them any money. Neither you or mdhome have shown me where hundreds of thousands are spent jailing people for vehicle equipment violations = tail light out. I am still waiting…..

          • Kyle Riggs

            Like I said it won’t let me attach links so I copy and pasted the article that explained it was difficult to calculate but that in just ONE county in Texas this is the findings- Here is that part of the article once again and again this is in one single county.

            ABC 7 decided to look at the numbers. The Office of Court Administration reported in 2015 there were 47, 627 class C misdemeanor cases, which is where all traffic tickets fall. Five cases were dismissed for indigency. Another 318 cases were satisfied with community service. That is less than one percent. Yet, 9,123 or 20 percent were completed with jail time in the Randall County jail.
            Calculating the cost of jailing people who cannot pay fees is tricky. That is because cases do not equal people. A person could have more than one case open at a time. Here is what we do know: The Randall County jail told ABC 7 it costs $50 a day to house someone who did not pay a traffic ticket. Blackburn and Hoffman estimate the average stay in jail to clear fines is about six days.
            “We’re talking about thousands of people a year,” said Blackburn. “This is not a small number of people.”
            We are not talking a small amount of tax money, either.
            The city pays almost $2 million a year for jail beds in Randall County.
            Municipal Court is a money maker for the city. The city’s finance director told ABC 7 that traffic tickets generate about $3 million annually and provides three percent of the general fund.
            So to summarize, in one year, in one smaller county, there was 9,123 people jailed for not paying minor traffic fines/minor vehicle equipment fines. It then says that it cost 50$ a day to jail them and they served an average of 6 days.

          • Lazy Jack

            You completely ignored my reply didn’t you.

          • Kyle Riggs

            (MoneyWatch) Thousands of Americans are sent to jail not for committing a crime, but because they can’t afford to pay for traffic tickets, medical bills and court fees.

            If that sounds like a debtors’ prison, a legal relic which was abolished in this country in the 1830s, that’s because it is. And courts and judges in states across the land are violating the Constitution by incarcerating people for being unable to pay such debts.

            Such stories are by no means unusual. Rather, they reflect a justice system that in effect criminalizes poverty. “It’s a growing problem nationally, particularly because of the economic crisis,” said Inimai Chettiar, director of the justice program at New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice.

            Roughly a third of U.S. states today jail people for not paying off their debts, from court-related fines and fees to credit card and car loans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Such practices contravene a 1983 United States Supreme Court ruling that they violate the Constitutions’s Equal Protection Clause.

            Some states apply “poverty penalties,” such as late fees, payment plan fees and interest, when people are unable to pay all their debts at once. Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the original debt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender. In North Carolina, people are charged for using a public defender, so poor defendants who can’t afford such costs may be forced to forgo legal counsel.

            The high rates of unemployment and government fiscal shortfalls that followed the housing crash have increased the use of debtors’ prisons, as states look for ways to replenish their coffers. Said Chettiar, “It’s like drawing blood from a stone. States are trying to increase their revenue on the backs of the poor.”

            In Dawley’s home state of Ohio, the local chapter of the ACLU announced today that it had found conclusive evidence of such polices in 7 of 11 counties in the state that it examined over the course of a year-long investigation. Although debtors’ prisons are unconstitutional and prohibited by Ohio law, poor defendants are routinely jailed for failing to pay court fines, the group said in a report.

            Municipal and so-called mayors’ courts — Ohio is one of two states in the U.S. where mayors can administer the law, even if they aren’t licensed attorneys — also commonly do not give defendants like Dawley a hearing or inform them of their rights to counsel, as required by law.

            “They didn’t give you the opportunity to say you couldn’t pay,” Dawley said of his time in court. “They just gave out 10 day sentences…. There was nothing about your finances. Either you plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. They give you a jail date and put you on a payment plan, and if you don’t make the payment plan you’re going to jail.”

            In so doing, courts fail to make a crucial distinction between defendants who have the means to pay their debts but refuse to do so, and those who are too poor to repay. That failure derives in large part from the lack of a consistent legal standard for determining willful nonpayment of such debts. As a result, while a judge in one state may take into account that a person on food stamps is financially unable to pay court costs, a judge across the state line might sentence that same individual to 10 days in the clink.

            “If you don’t have resources for an attorney or can’t afford other fees associated with court, you get a different brand of justice,” said Mike Brickner, director of communications and public policy at the ACLU of Ohio, noting that such practices are “rampant” in the state. “And with the economic downturn over the last 10 years, we’ve seen an increase and resurgence in debtors’ prisons.”

            In another case the group uncovered in Ohio, a mother of three was imprisoned for 10 days for failing to pay $540 in fines and costs related to a conviction for driving with a suspended license. And as in other cases where the indigent are jailed, taxpayers ended up footing part of the bill. The total cost of arresting and incarcerating her amounted to nearly $1,000.

            The final tab for the county? A loss of some $930, ACLU of Ohio found. “If someone who can’t pay is incarcerated, it ends up costing the state more because it costs more to put them in prison than what they originally owed,” Chettiar said.

            Jail time can also accelerate a downward spiral for the debtor, because additional court costs are piled on top of their previous debts. That makes repayment even harder, and the cycle continues.

            Some cities, meanwhile, have joined states in reviving the use of debtors’ prisons. Philadelphia courts in 2011 sought to collect on court-related debt from 320,000 people, involving obligations they owed dating back to the 1970s.

            But some judges have had enough. An Alabama circuit court judge last year rebuked a municipal court and private probation company for incarcerating people over their criminal justice debt, calling the arrangement a “judicially sanctioned extortion racket.”

          • Kyle Riggs

            excerpt from Moneywatch article I have pasted below-
            And as in other cases where the indigent are jailed, taxpayers ended up footing part of the bill. The total cost of arresting and incarcerating her amounted to nearly $1,000.

            The final tab for the county? A loss of some $930, ACLU of Ohio found. “If someone who can’t pay is incarcerated, it ends up costing the state more because it costs more to put them in prison than what they originally owed,” Chettiar said. !!!!!!!!!! ****
            THE WHOLE POINT RIGHT THERE
            Obviously in all the counties and states there are more than 100 people that have gone through this which equals one hundred thousand $ right there, but like I explained in one county in texas over 9,000 were jailed for not fully paying minor car/traffic fines and fees. Do the math and do the research. I couldn’t NOT find an article proofing this claim using simple google searches

          • Lazy Jack

            You are not finding the right articles. Jail time for tail light violation. That was the discussion topic. Not jail time for traffic offenses. Although, your sympathy for criminal violators costing the local Gov’t money by choosing not to/ or can’t pay a completely avoidable the fine is amusing.

          • Kyle Riggs

            In another county in westminster CO, fines as little as 90$ unpaid fees equal 10 days in jail. It cost an average of 50-75$ a day to house an inmate. This happens to thousands just in this state! You only need what happened in this story below to happen to a handful of people for it to quickly equal 100,000 IN ONE COUNTY!!

            -In nine of the largest 16 cities in Colorado, the ACLU found that judges routinely issue “pay-or-serve” warrants against those too poor to pay court fines. In such cases, individuals are given a stark option: Pay up in cash or pay off fines by serving time in jail.

            Some judges don’t give defendants a court hearing before sending them to jail for unpaid fines. When hearings are held, judges routinely ignore signs of indigence, such as notations on the police summons that the defendant is homeless, a review of court files shows.

            In Westminster, unpaid court fines of as little as $90 can result in a 10-day jail sentence.

            Westminster’s Municipal Presiding Judge John Stipech issued a standing order in 2001 that remains in effect today that requires a defendant be jailed for 10 days for failure to pay a court-ordered fine, no matter how small the amount owed.

            Pay or go to jail

            Jared Thornburg ran afoul of that order in 2012, shortly after he lost his oil-rig job and his company-paid housing after a chemical burn to his left eye.

            He was homeless and hoping to scrape together whatever he could for a motel room when a police officer stopped him. He had made a wrong turn in his Jeep and was driving a defective vehicle — non-jailable offenses, according to the Colorado Revised Statutes.

            Stipech ordered Thornburg to pay $306.25 in fines, but he could make an initial payment of only $61.25, records show. Eight days later, Stipech issued an order for his arrest, demanding the final payment or 10 days in jail. Thornburg went to jail because he couldn’t pay.

            “It sucked,” said Thornburg, 29, of Brighton. “It hasn’t helped even to this day. It hasn’t made my life any easier. I think it’s stupid. They put me in jail for 10 days, and I just didn’t have the money. They spent a lot more putting me in jail for 10 days than the amount I owed them.”

          • Lazy Jack

            Ok, lots of words. Not a single example pointing to jail time over a burned out light bulb. People break the law, they are given the OPPORTUNITY to pay a fine. If they can’t, they go to jail. That has been the American policy for over 200 years. This is not news. Local Jails are not in the business of making money, Local Gov’t want citizens to OBEY THEY LAW. IF people obey they law, there is no problem. You are feeling sorry for the criminal who is costing your local Gov’t money. Sorry, the poor criminal, that can’t seem to obey the law.

  • Arlei Macedo

    A thing rarely remembered abou women and prisons is that even when the person subjected to mass imprisonment injustice is a man, in most cases there will be women and children involved, with even less conditions for a human life.

  • David Frumm

    Why is this article only about women treated unjustly in prison and not about men?!! Does the suffering of men just not matter to social justice warriors?