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Interrupted LifeExperiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States$
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Rickie Solinger and Rebecca Sharitz

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520252493

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520252493.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

“Did you see no potential in me?”: The Story of Women Serving Long Sentences in Prison

“Did you see no potential in me?”: The Story of Women Serving Long Sentences in Prison

(p.294) 57 “Did you see no potential in me?”: The Story of Women Serving Long Sentences in Prison
Interrupted Life

Kathy Boudin

University of California Press

The enormous expansion of prisons and the high recidivism rates are raising questions about mass incarceration as a solution to social problems. Among the rising group of women in prison, approximately 20 percent have been convicted of violent crimes. Race and class and disintegrating urban neighborhoods intertwine to become the defining elements of who ends up in prison: In New York State, 50 percent of the women in prison are black, 27 percent are Latina, and 25 percent are white. As a result of enormous efforts by women to draw attention to the issue of battered women, a public consciousness exists about women who have been victims of domestic violence. This chapter reviews the reasons for the increasing number of women prisoners and for their long sentences, despite the tiny number of recidivists among this population. It argues that the long sentences, the parole denials, the many ways of rendering invisible or dehumanizing women in prison who have committed violent crimes offer another window into the criminal justice system.

Keywords:   mass incarceration, long sentences, violent crimes, women prisoners, race, parole denials, criminal justice system, class, domestic violence

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