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Book cover of 13 Women: Parables from Prison

13 Women: Parables from Prison

by Karlene Faith, Anne Near

Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre Publishing Group
ISBN: 9781553651420

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Synopsis of 13 Women: Parables from Prison

However their stories differ in the details, all of the women in this book speak about their time in prison with eloquence and admirable candor. Some have spent most of their lives behind bars; for others, prison was a one-time experience. Most were incarcerated for offences related to drugs and theft. Several were involved in violent crimes. Three — Betty Krawczyk, Ann Hansen, and Christine Lamont — did time for political activities that received international media attention. Their stories belie any stereotype about the type of woman who ends up in jail. Each account is a parable of life’s fragility, a cautionary tale of how easily anyone can meet with harm or be led astray. While relaying stories of courage, resiliency, and hope, the editors raise provocative questions about personal accountability, the meaning of justice, the state’s uses and abuses of power, and the broad social challenges women face.

Library Journal

This book, edited by prisoners' rights activist Faith (Sch. of Criminology, emerita, Simon Fraser Univ.; Unruly Women: The Politics of Confinement & Resistance) with activist Near (Dubious Journey: From Class to Class) is based on interviews with 13 incarcerated women from 1972 to 2004 in Canada, the United States, and Brazil. The pieces are presented as first-person monologs in the women's own words, with occasional comments by the editors. Each woman tells of her earlier life, up to her arrest. In some cases, the narrative ends there. In others, the editors follow the women's prison experiences, including beneficial prison educational programs as well as harassment and/or racism. Each interview ends with "Reflections," in which the editors bring the reader up to date about the woman in question. Some are still in prison, while others have been released to a new life. Still others have disappeared and not been traced. None of the women had committed sensational crimes, which in fact makes their stories more poignant, for these prisoners are the forgotten, the overlooked. Common trends of poverty, drug abuse, spousal violence, and bad choices run through all the narratives. Many of the women, having been battered by life outside, found a new hope in the prisons' programs. The book will be of value to social workers and correctional staff, as well as to curious general readers. Recommended for women's studies and/or crime collections in public and academic libraries.-Frances Sandiford, formerly with Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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