Nor Meekly Serve Her Time: Riots and Resistance in Women's Prisons

by Victoria Law

1. Nicole Hahn Rafter, Partial Justice: Women, Prisons and Social Control, 2nd ed. (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1990), 17-18.

2. The New York Times, "Women Inmates Battle Guards in North Carolina," June 17, 1975, 18.

3. Laura Whitehorn, "Women on the Margins: Incarceration and Resistance in the Current Era." Left Forum, Pace University, April 19, 2009.

4. Megan Boehnke, "Three Perryville Inmates Set Mattresses on Fire in Goodyear," Arizona Republic, June 7, 2009.

5. In an open letter to the director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Charles Ryan, Plews asked: "What has the department done to the women who set their mattresses on fire in organized protest? It is my understanding that they are in administrative segregation now (commonly referred to as being put into the hole), and may only receive legal assistance if charged in criminal court; they are on their own defending themselves in internal disciplinary proceedings, even though the outcome could seriously affect the kind and length of time they end up doing in the long run."

6. Arizona Department of Corrections, Chapter 700: Operational Security. Department Order 704: Inmate Regulations. 704.09: Temporary Holding Enclosures. (accessed July 7, 2009).

7. Peggy Plews, "Smoke Signals in the Desert," Prison Abolitionist, June 7, 2009 (accessed July 7, 2009).

8. Patricia Gagne, Battered Women's Justice: The Movement for Clemency and the Politics of Self-Defense (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1998), 185.

9. Gagne, 185.

10. Whitehorn. "Women on the Margins."

11. For more on the settlement, see here.

12. Michelle Fine, Kathy Boudin, Iris Bowen, Judith Clark, Donna Hylton, Migdalia Martinez, "Missy," Rosemarie Roberts, Pamela Smart, Maria Torre and Debora Upegui, Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum Security Prison, 2001.

13. R.R. Arditi, F. Goldberg, Hartle and Phelps, "The Sexual Segregation of American Prisons," Yale Law Journal 82 (1973): 1242.

14. Mary Glover, telephone interview with author, October 12, 2008.

15. Glover v Johnson, 478 F. Supp. 1075 (E.D.Mich. 1979).

16. Ibid.

17. Karlene Faith, "The Santa Cruz Women's Prison Project, 1972-1976," in Schooling in a "Total Institution": Critical Perspectives on Prison Education, ed. Howard S. Davidson. (Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey, 1995), 177-8, 180-181.

18. SCWPP founder Karlene Faith had ended a letter to a prisoner with the word "Venceremos" (literally "we will conquer"), a colloquialism that many activists used to indicate overcoming all obstacles to freedom. However, the guard who read her letter assumed that Faith was connected with a group called "Venceremos," which had claimed credit for an escape from a neighboring men's prison. Faith -- and the program -- was allowed to return to the prison only after a thorough investigation of her background (Faith, "Women's Prison Project,"182-3).

19. Faith, "Women's Prison Project,"185. Faith does not go into detail about what had caused that particular break in the program or what the women had resolved to do in that instance.

20. Caroline Wolf Harlow, Prior Abuse Reported by Inmates and Probationers, special report for the U.S. Department of Justice, April 1999, 1.

21. Marcia Bunney, "One Life in Prison: Perception, Reflection and Empowerment," in Harsh Punishment: International Experiences of Women's Imprisonment, ed. Sandy Cook and Susanne Davies (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1999), 24.

22. Ibid., 26.

23. Jerrye Broomhall, letter to author, January 30, 2008.

24. Dawn Reiser, letter to author, February 11, 2008.

25. Bunney, "One Life in Prison," 28-29.