Vol 7, No 5
Published by PM Press, Victoria Law’s first book, Resistance Behind Bars The Struggles of Incarcerated Women, takes a poignant look at the history and issues surrounding women in prison. An often overlooked reality in our culture, Law’s 288-page book seeks to raise awareness to the lives and struggles of incarerated women across the country. With many first-hand accounts of disrespect, neglect, and abuse (physical/mental/sexual/emotional), Resistance Behind Bar paints a picture that something is deeply wrong with the way we, as a society, (mis)treat imprisoned people, especially the needs of women, which are not usually considered when thinking about prisoners.
However, this book isn’t just a pity party thrown to lament the woes of women in the prison industrial complex. Resistance Behind Bars brings to light the many ways in which women struggle against the system for more humane living conditions. Many issues, such as access to education/work opportunities, adequate and affordable healthcare, and family contact/visitation have been fought for inside prison, regardless of known reprecussions and punishment.
Law seeks to discount the general assumption by academics and prison activists alike that women in prison merely accept their conditions and do nothing to change it. While many prison riots and protests that occur in men’s prisons may be often known about or covered in the media, similar incidents in women’s facilities fail to get the same media attention. In addition to direct action, many women also exhaust the ‘official’ procedures to combat mistreatment.
Complete with numerous helpful end notes, a glossary, and a section on resources for incarcerated women, Resistance Behind Bars offers the public a new and realistic look into the lives of the forgotten and the oppressed.