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Women and girls must be at the center of reimagining safety

Updated: Mar 20

By Andrea James


Andrea James is founder and executive director of the National Council for Incarcerated & Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, founder of Families for Justice as Healing and author of “Upper Bunkies Unite: And Other Thoughts on the Politics of Mass Incarceration.”


Long before women became the fastest-growing incarcerated population, they were already entangled in the criminal legal system. They were the mothers, grandmothers, wives, aunts, sisters and daughters of the men and boys who make up the majority of the more than 2 million people incarcerated in the United States.


It is women who have held families together, paid bails, raised children, sent commissary money, and provided housing and reentry services when local, state and federal policies have ignored their needs. These women have intimate knowledge of how incarceration affects their communities. And yet in criminal justice debates, their experiences and expertise are too often ignored.


Debates in the field have long focused on “reimagining prisons.” But in the communities most directly affected by incarceration, we are tired of reimagining prisons. It’s time to reimagine communities. Read more HERE


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