Prisons Are Sickening: What Do We Do About It?
This chapter identifies how imprisonment damages women's physical, emotional, and mental health. It includes a few brief quotes from women imprisoned in Canada and the US; these are drawn from extensive research in women's prisons between 1972 and 2007. The chapter discusses the ideals of restorative and transformational justice, and the abolition of imprisonment for people who pose no danger. Incarceration is a health issue, routinely resulting in physical, mental, and emotional damage. Imprisoned women suffer overt and insidious harms that cannot be averted under conditions of forced confinement. Restorative justice aims to restore harmony by engaging the community in responding to the needs of victims and assuring that those who cause harm are held accountable while, at the same time, supporting their reintegration into the community. Transformative justice is a critically analytical and activist variation on restorative justice, focusing on the ways that class, gender, ethnic and racial discriminations produce a fundamentally unjust social structure.