Inside This Place, Not of It reveals some of the most egregious human rights violations within women’s prisons in the United States. In their own words, the thirteen narrators in this book recount their lives leading up to incarceration and their experiences inside—ranging from forced sterilization and shackling during childbirth, to physical and sexual abuse by prison staff. Together, their testimonies illustrate the harrowing struggles for survival that women in prison must endure.
“Essential reading. These women’s stories compel us to recognize their humanity, tenacity, and value as people, and reveal a hidden and heart-wrenching reality.”
—Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black
“Inside This Place, Not of It is precisely the kind of book we need now. In reading these narratives—so skillfully assembled, and with the accompanying statistics and data which let readers see how America and its states are complicit in taking away lives and dignity from so many women—what stands out is the poignant sense of abandonment and sadness that changed their lives from childhood, and the astonishing strength and perseverance that let them survive in prison. I will never forget these women, or this book.”
—Susan Straight, author of Take One Candle Light a Room
“I am passionately, ardently grateful for the existence of this book. How else would I have ever heard the voices of these women? Where would I gain insight or understanding of the lives they describe: harrowing, riveting, rife with misogyny, and utterly unacceptable in a country that values human rights.”
—Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture
“This is an incredibly important, urgently readable book. I stayed up all night with these forgotten women, who have encountered, in present-day America, levels of cruelty and humiliation that have somehow not undercut their ability to express themselves with verve and grace and dignity.”
—Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers
About the Editors:
Robin Levi is the human rights director of the Oakland-based nonprofit Justice Now, a California-based human rights organization dedicated to building a movement among people in women’s prisons to challenge violence and imprisonment.
Ayelet Waldman, an attorney and former public defender, is the author of Red Hook Road and Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace.
Michelle Alexander is a longtime civil rights advocate and litigator, and holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Mortiz College of Law at Ohio State University. Alexander served for several years as director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, and went on to direct the Civil Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School, where she was an associate professor. She is the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.