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Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons
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Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  204 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
People in U.S. prisons are routinely subjected to physical, sexual, and mental abuse. While this has been documented in male prisons, women in prison often suffer in relative anonymity. Women Inside addresses this critical social justice issue, empowering incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women to share the stories that have previously been silenced. Among the ...more
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by McSweeney's (first published October 11th 2011)
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Jan 01, 2012 Oriana rated it it was amazing
for when you need a good cry, a good strong agonized scream against the quiet horrors of our often harrowingly terrible world.
Mar 23, 2013 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book broke my heart a thousand times. The absolute atrocities and cruelties and just total lack of respect, agency, dignity given to women in the prison's just so disheartening and awful. The abuse inflicted on them by those in power is sickening, and I don't care what someone has done to be put in prison, they do not deserve what many of these women experienced. I'm grateful to the editors of this book for getting these stories out there, for letting these women speak their ...more
Avid Reader
Oct 18, 2012 Avid Reader rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Must read for anyone concerned for basic human decency in this country. Also you can catch one of the first person accounts from this book in the 2012 edition of The Best American Nonrequired Reading.

I plan on reviewing this in detail once I get the physical book back from a friend (love my Kindle but not a fan of ebooks). As a rule I generally don't loan my books out but this one in particular screams to be shared repeatedly.
Oct 27, 2013 Kathrina rated it really liked it
Shelves: lock-up
From now on, if you ask me why I'm interested in prison reform, I don't have to say anything. I can just hand you this book. I probably will say something, though. And I hope this book makes you say something, too.
Aug 12, 2016 Jill rated it it was ok
I have mixed feelings about this book, which is probably why it will be great to discuss at a book club, but just so you are aware, each chapter is a different woman's experience with her prison/jail time. I think half of the book outlines different laws and rules that are in effect, so it's a pretty short read. I think this was supposed to be sort of an expose on women's prisons, but to me all it taught me was not to get messed up with this stuff, so you end up there in the first place. They ...more
ash newton
Apr 07, 2016 ash newton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nan-fix-shin
i was first exposed to this book through a talk that robin levy and angela davis gave at the hammer museum after its release. the talk was informative and impressive, filled with haunting detail of the ways in which the fast-growing population of women prisoners is getting exploited, abused and demoralized by the system. i found this book to be even more impressive than the talk, as it quickly eschews the systemic view of things (after the two brief introductions by michelle alexander and the ...more
Apr 02, 2012 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When we started a program for female ex-offenders at my library, I knew we were doing a good thing. The women sometimes open up a little bit and talk about the circumstances surrounding the crimes they committed, and maybe we'll hear bits and pieces about their lives.

I had a pit in my stomach the whole time I was reading this book. Knowing what I know now, about addiction and sexual abuse and violence against women, I am not at all surprised by the stories collected here. I am disappointed in th
Aug 22, 2012 Erin rated it liked it
This book was a pretty terrifying and depressing read. It really struck me that if your mother made bad choices in life, you were destined to follow in her footsteps. If she had abusive husbands/boyfriends, so did her daughters. If she was a drug addict, so became her daughters. And the good intentions and interventions of grandparents and friends seem to have little to no deterrence to the cycle.

And all of that happens before they enter prison. Prison is a whole other horror. Women's prisons a
The Voices of Witness series is invaluable in its representation of voices rarely, if ever, heard. Inside This Place, Not Of It is no exception. The narratives were each heartbreaking, upsetting, maddening, and horrifying. Every single woman profiled has experienced abuse inside the prison system, by officers and other authority figures, and outside, by husbands or boyfriends or parents or other trusted individuals. Every story provokes empathy, which the corrections system desperately needs. ...more
May 03, 2016 LiveFreeReadHard rated it it was amazing
This is, unsurprisingly, not an easy read. You'll want to be mentally prepared for tough, real, stories that will often make you very angry in numerous ways and at numerous targets. These stories are complex, and provoke numerous emotions.

Not only is it a fascinating look into the lives of these women who are/were incarcerated, but it is also very important. It raises many, many issues surrounding the American prison system, and of course women's experience in said system. It also highlights wo
Sep 18, 2013 Renee rated it really liked it
These accounts of injustice and abuse are told by women who've suffered tremendously but still have the hope and courage to change their lives. It is a reminder of the strength of the female spirit as well as the flaws of the justice system in the United States. This collection shed light on what prison is really like for women as opposed to how it is depicted in the media. I've read the entire Voice of Witness series of books and I highly recommend them each for different reasons. There is also ...more
Kim Anderson
Jun 18, 2012 Kim Anderson rated it liked it
It's hard to "like" this book--it's the narratives of lots of women (and one trans man) who have been sent to prison, and most of these people were exposed to continual abuse starting at a very young age. And that abuse certainly doesn't stop or even diminish once they are in prison. But it is a very telling book about how we use our justice system to pretend certain people don't exist and it exposes just how inhumane a prisoner's conditions may be. This is something everyone should read, and it ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Brandon rated it it was amazing
these narratives were absolutely mind-bending to read. it makes me question whether that age-old justification (they made their choice --- they deserve their sentence) holds water --- so many of those who were interviewed went to great lengths to demonstrate that they were born into desperate circumstances --- of abuse, of neglect --- and that their actions and lives up until their incarceration represented an absolute struggle to survive, to subsist in the world.

i recommend this book to absolu
Mar 07, 2012 Blackbook rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work, 2012, reference
I like reading fiction. Vamps, weres, m/m, mysteries, Eve Dallas you get the picture. I will probably go on a binge of easy reads after this one.

Incredible, moving narratives from incarcerated women. Rape. Forced sterilization. Giving birth while shackled. We keep looking away. We all keep looking away like it's not real, like there is not a cost as a nation, as humans that we will have to pay- that we do pay already in one form or another.
May 05, 2012 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: prisons-police
this is incredibly powerful and very intense. the depth of injustice is profound, so is the strength of the women and transmen sharing their stories. also, the organisation Justice Now are doing amazing work around human rights documentation, advocacy, and education.

**trigger warnings -- this book contains descriptions of sexual and physical assault and abuse**
Victoria Law
Feb 06, 2012 Victoria Law rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prison-reading
As you can probably guess about any book with stories from people in women's prisons, this book can be an emotionally difficult read. There are stories of sexual assault, child abuse, neglectful parents...But there are also stories of resilience, hope and resistance.

My full review is here:
Feb 03, 2014 Liz rated it really liked it
Very eye opening. So glad I read it, but th stories got to be too similar near the end. This showed the pervasiveness of the problem but I think that there could have been more diversity in some of the stories
Aug 07, 2012 Liz rated it it was amazing
So heartbreaking. Everything you feared about women's prisons turns out to be true. I wish I could say that this book is somehow uplifting through the tears. It isn't really. But you'll be glad you read it anyway.
Rebecca Maher
May 05, 2016 Rebecca Maher rated it it was amazing
Harrowing, because these horrors are happening in this country every goddamn day. But inspiring, too. These women are complicated and so incredibly strong.
Nov 16, 2013 Jan rated it really liked it
Really well done, thought-provoking, informative, and compassionate. Deserves five stars, but it's so depressing I'm almost afraid to recommend it that highly.
Mar 05, 2015 Rachel rated it liked it
I guess there weren't too many surprises in this book, but certainly good reminders. The women certainly shared very personal aspects of their lives both pre, during and post incarceration.
Suzy Evans
Dec 18, 2015 Suzy Evans rated it really liked it
It seems like every story in this book is of someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's very upsetting. This is no "Orange is the New Black." This is hardcore.
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Ayelet Waldman is the author of A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, Love and Treasure, Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays ...more
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