While female incarceration has been part and parcel of the criminal justice system for decades (and, in fact, is on the rise), misconceptions have been perpetuated and complicated by the recent influx of pop culture fodder like the film Monster and the show Orange is the New Black.
These depictions of the female incarcerated have served as a dubious catalyst; female imprisonment has finally entered the national discourse. But often lost in the show chatter are legitimate questions: What's the most effective path for rehabilitation? What reforms are necessary to improve the system for women? How do misconceptions about female imprisonment hurt actual female prisoners?
To address these and other issues, we reached out to those entrenched in the system--from the executive director of a prison reform organization, to a forensic psychologist, to a prison arts teacher--and asked them this question:
What can we do to affect systemic change for women in prison?
Here's what they had to say.