Women in Prison: Inside the Concrete Womb


This compelling book, which has been thoroughly revised and updated, draws on candid interviews with over 400 women inmates and prison officials to shed a shocking light on our penal system as it affects women.
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This compelling book, which has been thoroughly revised and updated, draws on candid interviews with over 400 women inmates and prison officials to shed a shocking light on our penal system as it affects women.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Here is a shocker, a real eye-opener that deserves wide attention"
Saturday Review
"An exposé of a national disgrace . . .eloquent and illuminating"
Jack Newfield
"Without sentimentality, without rhetoric, without paternalism, Kitsi Watterson describes with piercing brilliance the reality of prison. This book is both an education and a summons to change. It is a book filled with truth, with humanity, with pain. And fashioned with extraordinary craft."
—Jack Newfield, The Village Voice
Kirkus Reviews
"A graphic arresting acccount of prison as a way of life."
Natalie J. Sokoloff
"A real contribution to understanding what happens to women incarcerated in our prisons today. . . .Women in Prison is an excellent primer on the subject. "
—Natalie J. Sokoloff, Women's Review of Books
Joyce Carol Oates
"Powerful, ground-breaking."
—Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books
Lesley H. Oelsner
"Valuable, compelling, and worth reading."
—Lesley Oelsner, New York Times
In nearly seamless weave of archaeological and literary evidence, Green (archaeology and Celtic studies, U. of Wales) surveys the role of women in Celtic society and the representations and influence of the divine female in myth. Britain and Wales are her main focus, but she also considers Irish and continental Celtic people and encompasses a period from the earliest artifacts to the taming of goddesses into saints and historical figures. Well illustrated in black and white. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"A real contribution to understanding what happens to women incarcerated in our prisons today. . . Women in Prison is an excellent primer on the subject. The topics Watterson covers include the history of women's prisons; who is in prison, for what crimes; the prison industries that support the state and are fueled by prisoners' unpaid or miserably paid wages; the profit-making companies, organizations, and communities who benefit from the boom in prison construction and the ever-expanding correctional employment; the difficulties faced by incarcerated women and their children; the frightening world of women inside prison; the plight of those women as they leave prison with $25 in their pockets and no place to call home, no job and children to support; the inadequate medical and psychological services provided for women in prison; and prison friendships, families and sexualities." —Women's Review of Books

"A graphic, arresting account of prison as a way of life."—Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555532376
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 1/25/1996
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Pages: 402
  • Product dimensions: 6.45 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Meet the Author

KATHRYN WATTERSON, an award-winning author and journalist, teaches writing at Princeton University. Among her several books is Women in Prison: Inside the Concrete Womb, also published by Northeastern University Press. Her short stories, essays, and articles have been published in a variety of national journals, magazines, and newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer and New York Times.
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Table of Contents

Preface to the 1996 Edition
1 A Separate Society: Inside the Concrete Womb 3
2 A Personal Journey: The Genesis of This Book 7
3 Injustices in the Justice System: Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? 19
4 Facing Facts: Who Gets Punished? What Are Their Crimes? 32
5 Found Guilty: Courtroom Theater and Women without Scripts 48
6 Welcome to the Concrete Womb: Leave Your Dignity at the Door 65
7 Forced Dependency: The Prison As Abusive Parent 73
8 Security and Discipline: Springs Wound Too Tightly 85
9 Snapshots: Women's Stories, Women's Lives 110
10 A Look at the History of Women's Prisons in America: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back 192
11 Locked Out: The Concrete Wall between Women and Their Children 205
12 Prisons: A Government Industry Fueled by Unpaid Labor 224
13 Medical Treatment: Band-Aids over Broken Bones 252
14 Crime or Illness? Shrinks, Drugs, and Therapy 272
15 Relationships: Prison Families, Friendships, and Sexuality 285
16 Getting Out: A Long and Frightening Road Home 309
17 Prisons: A Paradigm of Failure 335
1996: Epilogue for Women in Prison 355
Appendix 361
Glossary: Prison and Prison-Related Terms 379
Bibliography: Consulted Works and Recommended Reading 389
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