You might have seen many movies where incarcerated women are presented and the many things they go through in prison. But it never indeed sheds light on the reality of what happens to women behind bars.
Inmates struggle in many different ways. Lack of hygiene products, poorly funded libraries, insufficient solutions on pregnancy-related issues, and so many more things come under the list of what it’s like being a prisoner. And what’s worse is that if you are a woman of colour, part of the LGBTQ+ community, or have disabilities, you will face even further unique obstacles, making you inherently at a disadvantage with the system itself. And if you look into it, you will find many more horrifying details about their living situation.
The time to act is now – to support these women, we have gathered a few ways you can help them and ensure their daily lives go by a little easier.
Supporting Reproductive Rights
According to their website, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) works to secure an incarcerated woman’s rights to abortion, healthy labor, and appropriate medical care. They have an option where outsiders are open to donating to their cause. You can join training events at national prisons to help inmates have better knowledge of labor and childbirth.
Providing Legal Assistance to Wrongfully Convicted Women
There are various legal departments in universities that operate programs that deal with wrongfully convicted people in prison. For example, North-western University’s Women’s Project highlights the different ways women are disadvantaged when investigated and questioned in court. You can always look into these places and work as a volunteer.
Most prisons have poorly funded libraries, making it challenging to attain knowledge while serving time. Consequently, numerous organizations are working towards gathering reading material for women in prison.
For example, the Chicago Books to Women in Prison is an example of an organization that takes book requests directly from the women it serves. They have their ways of donating books that include Amazon services. You can look up similar organizations and figure out ways to donate your old books there or even volunteer to help with the whole process.
You can learn more on the subject by reaching out to professionals who have been engaged in supporting incarcerated women for years now – like Jamila Davis.
As a formerly incarcerated woman, Jamila Davis has come a long way in her journey to become one of our time’s best African American entrepreneurs and prison reform activists. Many of you might even know her as the CEO of Black Women’s Lives Matter and the VIP Online Academy.
After she re-entered society, she was determined to change the situation for incarcerated women worldwide. Davis worked with her mother to create “Voices International Publications” – a publishing company that produces books to inspire imprisoned women to make the most out of the opportunities in front of them.
Moreover, she co-founded Women Over Incarcerated, an advocacy group that fights sentence reforms for non-violent female federal offenders. Currently, Davis is working on programs that are helping at-risk students to avoid prison, and using her extensive research-based formula; she now works as a professor at Seton Hall University and a researcher at Yale University.