This Al Jazeera America piece brings to focus the idea that incarcerated women who are deemed “violent” have not been represented in the mainstream press and pushes the question whether alternatives to incarceration should be considered for murderers. Is there a way, at the outset, to reduce sentences for women who commit crimes because they are protecting themselves? Having studied women’s incarceration issues for several years now, it’s baffling that legislative reforms have not risen along with a growing awareness of why some women commit crimes.
From the piece:
Women convicted of violent actions — such as robbery, assault or murder — have been ignored. In addition, no agency keeps track of how many women convicted of violent crimes were arrested for defending themselves against violence.
It’s a fair point, given that many women are incarcerated for protecting themselves against abusive partners who often batter these women for years.
Focusing solely on drug policy reform is not enough. To truly tackle women’s incarceration, we need to move beyond talking only about nonviolent drug offenses and challenge lawmakers — and ourselves — to include the more complicated and nuanced scenarios involving women’s violence.