state:
West Virginia
Local history:
A Place for Women: Rising Incarceration Numbers Outpace Resources
How Has the Mass Incarceration of Women Changed West Virginia?
West Virginia University | West Virginia Criminal Justice Listening Project
Exhibiting Partner:
Downtown Library of West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV 26506
November 9, 2020December 18, 2020

Stay tuned!

States of Incarceration is headed to West Virginia and will open in Morgantown in Fall 2020.

Scroll or jump to next screen

West Virginia: A Place for Women: Rising Incarceration Numbers Outpace Resources
How Has the Mass Incarceration of Women Changed West Virginia?
West Virginia University | West Virginia Criminal Justice Listening Project

In 1989, 80 women were sentenced to prison in West Virginia. At that time, women served their time at Pruntytown Correctional Center in Taylor County. The facility was a men’s prison where quarters were adapted for the small number of West Virginia women with felony convictions. By 2003, 14 years later, the state had spent $24.5 million to open Lakin Correctional Center, a maximum security prison with 302 beds, to deal with the rapidly growing number of women serving prison sentences in the state.

Three years later, in 2006, the state spent another $6.2 million to expand the facility to 462 beds. In 2016, 622 women were sentenced to prison, an increase of more than 677% from 1989. Though Lakin expanded to 584 beds in 2019, it was not large enough to hold the 771 women serving time. More than a quarter of those women were incarcerated at regional jails without access to trade skills development and some rehabilitation programs. Less than half the women at Lakin have a high school diploma; a majority are mothers, and 104 have given birth there since 2006.

Our Point of View

We are undergraduate and graduate journalism students, some from West Virginia, and some from other states. When we began a study of the rise of the mass incarceration of women in West Virginia, many of us had been covering stories on some of the state’s other big issues - the opioid crisis and the child welfare crisis. Over the course of a year and a half of interviewing formerly incarcerated women, we began to see the interrelation of all of these issues. We wanted to share women’s stories because we realized that the policies that led to mass incarceration affected every part of the state’s communities and every one of its people.

Scroll or jump to next screen

West Virginia: A Place for Women: Rising Incarceration Numbers Outpace Resources    West Virginia University
How Has the Mass Incarceration of Women Changed West Virginia?
West Virginia: A Place for Women: Rising Incarceration Numbers Outpace Resources
How Has the Mass Incarceration of Women Changed West Virginia?
  West Virginia University

National Exhibition Venue    Downtown Library of West Virginia University

Public Dialogues and Events
| November 9 – December 18, 2020

See Full Exhibition & Events Schedule
Apr 14, 2020

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Festival of Ideas: Piper Kerman

Description: 

Sponsored by the Hardesty Festival of Ideas and WVU Reed College of Media

Reform advocate and author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Orange is the New Black will discuss her experience and work.

Due to the popularity of the speaker and limited seating, (free) tickets will be required. Tickets will be available in late March at the Festival of Ideas website.read more…

Time: 
7:30 PM
Venue: 

WVU Mountainlair Ballrooms
1550 University Ave
Morgantown, WV 26506

Apr 15, 2020

Lakin Correctional Facility in Mason County, West Virginia. Photographed by Mike Youngren; courtesy of West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Lakin Correctional Facility in Mason County, West Virginia. Photographed by Mike Youngren; courtesy of West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Legislative Breakfast (invitation only)

Description: 

Sponsored by Women Beyond Bars

During the last two legislative sessions, criminal justice reform efforts in West Virginia has drawn bi-partisan support. During this breakfast event policymakers, advocates and individuals working in the legal system will come together to discuss priorities for moving forward. read more…

Time: 
8:30 AM
Venue: 

Morgantown Marriott Waterfront Place
Two Waterfront Pl.
Morgantown, WV 26501

Apr 15, 2020

How Far is Home? Where Lakin’s Women Come From: With only one prison facility in the state for women, families in some counties can have a long commute to visit their incarcerated loved ones. "Visitation has been shown in studies to be a powerful tool of mitigation for many of the harms children experience when their parents are incarcerated, but visitation rates are woefully low." — Amy Cyphert, author of “Prisoners of Fate: The Challenge of Creating Change for Children of Incarcerated Parents,” Published in the Maryland Law Review Vol. 77.

How Far is Home? Where Lakin’s Women Come From: With only one prison facility in the state for women, families in some counties can have a long commute to visit their incarcerated loved ones. "Visitation has been shown in studies to be a powerful tool of mitigation for many of the harms children experience when their parents are incarcerated, but visitation rates are woefully low." — Amy Cyphert, author of “Prisoners of Fate: The Challenge of Creating Change for Children of Incarcerated Parents,” Published in the Maryland Law Review Vol. 77.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Community Partners Luncheon (invitation only)

Description: 

Sponsored by Women Beyond Bars

Across the state groups ranging from government entities to nonprofits are working to decrease incarceration and recidivism rates. This luncheon will provide a space for these organizations to meet, share their work and discuss ways to work together.read more…

Time: 
11:30 AM
Venue: 

Morgantown Marriott Waterfront Place
Two Waterfront Pl.
Morgantown, WV 26501

Apr 16, 2020

Women’s Prison Admissionsin West Virginia (1978-2016)

Women’s Prison Admissionsin West Virginia (1978-2016)

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Going Inside, Bridging the Divide

Description: 

Sponsored by WVU’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology

This panel will feature the stories of people who visit prisons to build meaningful, ongoing relationships with people experiencing incarceration. Panelists will discuss the nature of their work in prisons and why it’s important.

No registration required.read more…

Time: 
7:30 PM
Venue: 

TBD

Apr 18, 2020

Lakin Correctional Facility in Mason County, West Virginia. Photographed by Mike Youngren; courtesy of West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Lakin Correctional Facility in Mason County, West Virginia. Photographed by Mike Youngren; courtesy of West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A Forum on Inside-Out Teaching and Learning

Description: 

Sponsored by Inside Out at WVU and the Appalachian Prison Book Project

This panel will feature stories from two different education outreach programs, Inside-Out at WVU and the Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP). Students and faculty will discuss their experience and the impact of their work.

No registration required.read more…

Venue: 

Location: TBD

Time: TBD

Apr 20, 2020

Lakin Correctional Center has a fenced-in area for toddlers, who are part of the Keeping Infant Development Successful (KIDS) Program. Photo by Tom Hindman for The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Lakin Correctional Center has a fenced-in area for toddlers, who are part of the Keeping Infant Development Successful (KIDS) Program. Photo by Tom Hindman for The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Women Beyond Bars Simulation (students only)

Description: 

Sponsored by WVU Honors College & Honors College Living-Learning Community
In partnership with WVU School of Public Health and Reed College of Media

Participating students will be assigned a role, and will live out one "month" over the course of the 1.5-hour simulation, trying to make it on the outside, securing food, housing and a job, all while trying to keep in compliance with probation rules.

Check-In/Food/Overview: 5:30 p.m.
Simulation: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Volunteer Registration

Participant Registrationread more…

Time: 
5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Venue: 

Media Innovation Center (4th floor Evansdale Crossing)

Click on a state to learn more.
Click on a state to learn more.

Arizona

California

Connecticut

Florida

Illinois

Indiana

Louisiana

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Rhode Island

Tennessee

Texas

West Virginia

close open menus

National Issues

(select one)

or

Tags

(select one or multiple)