state:
Massachusetts
Local history:
Reforming Gender and the Carceral State
What are women’s prisons for?
University of Massachusetts Amherst
National Traveling Venue:
The Wauregan Building, Forbes Library, Historic Northhampton
The Wauregan Building (presented by Wistariahurst Museum) (March 1 – 12): 420 Dwight St., Holyoke, MA 01040 | Forbes Library (March 13 – 30): 20 West St., Northampton, MA 01060 | Historic Northampton (March 13 – 30): 46 Bridge St., Northampton, MA 01060
March 1, 2017March 30, 2017

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, March 1 6PM - 8PM
States of Incarceration Holyoke Opening Reception
420 Dwight Street
Holyoke, MA 01040

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Massachusetts: Reforming Gender and the Carceral State
What are women’s prisons for?
University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Framingham Reformatory Prison for Women, founded in 1877, catalyzed women’s carceral reform. Nineteenth-century reformers advocated for separate prisons to address women’s needs, but by criminalizing certain behaviors and promoting others through domestic skills-based programming and a strong culture of surveillance, women’s prisons became powerful enforcers of white, middle-class norms of gender and sexuality.

Built in 2007 and expanded in 2012, Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center, the state’s newest jail for women, was similarly justified as necessary to meeting women’s “distinct needs". While officials champion the jail as “gender responsive,” activists reject this notion. Women have been shackled during childbirth, denied proper prenatal nutrition, videotaped during strip searches, and many lose custody of their children. As a result of the Drug War, mandatory minimum sentences, and the decimation of the social safety net—and compounded by racism, sexism, and economic injustice—women are the fastest-growing incarcerated population in the United States.

Our Point of View

A group of women from different nations, ethnicities, and disciplines, we grapple with the intersection of gender and incarceration through the lens of two women’s prisons. Centering on women’s voices, we worked with local activists including the Statewide Harm Reduction Coalition to understand the complex ways that mass incarceration affects women in general and women of color in particular. Along with written sources and oral histories, conversations with local reproductive justice activists deeply informed our approach.

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Massachusetts: Reforming Gender and the Carceral State    University of Massachusetts Amherst
What are women’s prisons for?
Massachusetts: Reforming Gender and the Carceral State
What are women’s prisons for?
  University of Massachusetts Amherst

National Exhibition Venue    The Wauregan Building, Forbes Library, Historic Northhampton

Public Dialogues and Events
| March 1 – March 30, 2017

See Full Exhibition & Events Schedule
Mar 1, 2017
States of Incarceration Exhibition

States of Incarceration Exhibition Credit: Chris Choi

States of Incarceration Exhibition

States of Incarceration Exhibition Credit: Chris Choi

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

States of Incarceration Holyoke Opening Reception

Description: 

The opening reception for States of Incarceration in Holyoke.read more…

Time: 
6 PM to 8 PM
Venue: 

The Wauregan
420 Dwight Street
Holyoke, MA 01040

Mar 3, 2017

Friday, March 3, 2017

Inside Justice: Narratives of Incarcerated Women course field trip to States of Incarceration

Description: 

Holyoke Senior Center Lifelong Learning course Inside Justice: Narratives of Incarcerated Women will conclude its four-week course with a field trip to States of Incarceration at the Wistariahurst Museum.read more…

Time: 
10 AM
Venue: 

Wistariahurst Museum
238 Cabot Street
Holyoke, MA 01040

Film
Mar 3, 2017

Friday, March 3, 2017

Film Screening of 13th

Description: 

Join Wistariahurst at El Mercado for a screening of the film 13th and participate in a facilitated discussion with Jafet Robles of Neighbor to Neighbor.
Supported by the Holyoke Local Cultural Council, Holyoke, MA.
Full event information here.read more…

Time: 
6 PM
Venue: 

El Mercado
401 Main Street
Holyoke, MA 01040

Mar 23, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Opening Reception: States of Incarceration at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Description: 

The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, welcomes visitors for the opening reception of States of Incarceration at the Forbes Library.read more…

Time: 
4:30 PM
Venue: 

Forbes Library
20 West Street
Northampton MA 01060

Conference
Mar 30, 2017
States of Incarceration Exhibition

States of Incarceration Exhibition Credit: Chris Choi

States of Incarceration Exhibition

States of Incarceration Exhibition Credit: Chris Choi

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Local Action Forum: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Alliance for Community Transformation

Description: 

This highly participatory forum will bring students, scholars, community members and activists from central and western Massachusetts together to talk about work going on to support and build the collective power of individuals, families, and communities affected by mass incarceration. Registration required. Participants will view the exhibit and complete shared readings in advance. Check back for updates.

Hosted and facilitated by the UMass Alliance for Community Transformation.read more…

Time: 
3:15 PM
Venue: 

Location to be announced.

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