In 1923, 17-year-old Carrie Buck was raped and impregnated. Her adoptive family, trying to avoid the public shame of having an unwed mother in their midst, had her committed to an institution for the "feeble minded." Because she was supposedly "feeble-minded" and the daughter of an unwed mother herself, the State of Virginia sought to sterilize her and, in 1927, the Supreme Court ruled in its favor.
One would think we've come a long way since 1927. But apparently we haven't.
Inside This Place, Not of It: Stories from Women's Prisons is the ninth book in the Voice of Witness series, which carries the Studs Turkel torch by using oral history to share stories from the margins of America. Inside This Place has thirteen accounts from people who have been—and several who remain—incarcerated in women's prisons. Editors Robin Levi and Ayelet Waldman and a team of nineteen interviewers conducted over seventy interviews with thirty individuals over the course of ten months.
Last year authorities arrested expectant mother Miriam Mendiola-Martinez, an undocumented immigrant, and charged her with using someone else's identity to work. After the incarcerated Mendiola-Martinez delivered a baby boy Dec. 21 via C-section at Maricopa Medical Center in Arizona, she was shackled for two days to her hospital bed and not allowed to nurse her baby, New America Media (NAM) reports. Moreover, when guards escorted her out of the hospital in shackles, no one told her the whereabouts of her son.