Jailcare: Finding the Safety Net for Women Behind Bars

Thursday August 10, 7:30PM

@ Red Emma's

Thousands of pregnant women pass through our nation’s jails every year. What happens to them as they carry their pregnancies in a space of punishment? In this time when the public safety net is frayed, incarceration has become a central and racialized strategy for managing the poor. Using her ethnographic fieldwork and clinical work as an ob-gyn in a women’s jail, Carolyn Sufrin explores how jail has, paradoxically, become a place where women can find care.


Focusing on the experiences of incarcerated pregnant women as well as on the practices of the jail guards and health providers who care for them, Jailcare describes the contradictory ways that care and maternal identity emerge within a punitive space presumed to be devoid of care. Sufrin argues that jail is not simply a disciplinary institution that serves to punish. Rather, when understood in the context of the poverty, addiction, violence, and racial oppression that characterize these women’s lives and their reproduction, jail has, tragically, become a safety net for women on the margins of society.

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@ Red Emma's

Kristen Jeffers has always been interested in how cities work. She’s also always loved writing things. She went off to a major state university, got a communication degree and then started a more professional Blogger site. Then, in her graduate seminar on urban politics, along with browsing the urbanist blogosphere, she realized that her ideas should have a stronger, clearer voice, one that reflects her identity as a Black southern woman. And with that The Black Urbanist blog was born. Seven years, one Twitter account, one self-published book and a litany of speeches and urban planning projects later, here we are. Kristen will join us to talk about why she started the blog, why she keeps it going and how important it is to bring your personality and your identity to spaces that may or may not be built for you.


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