From 1995 â€“ 2006, the number of incarcerated women in the United States increased 64 percent making the U.S. the leading country for the incarceration of women. Today, with well over 1.7 million women in prison, nearly half are mothers. Policy makers, activists, academics from diverse disciplines are searching for ways to understand the causes, costs, and consequences of hyper incarceration of women. Further, legal scholars are faced with the challenge of finding the most effective analytical lens through which to consider this relatively new social phenomenon.
The Feminism and Legal Theory (FLT) Project at Emory is convening a workshop to explore the issues facing incarcerated women, their children, familiesand communities. This workshop, offered in conjunction with Emory’s Race and Difference Initiative, highlights Rickie Solinger’s multimedia and photographic exhibits Interrupted Life and Beggars and Choosers, which will be in Emory’s Schatten Gallery during the workshop. The Solinger exhibits explore the intersection of race, class, and privilege as it relates to motherhood in the U.S. and the impact of incarceration on women and their families.
Issues that may be explored within the framework of the conference include, but are not limited to:
· How does the growing rate of incarceration of women in the U.S. and throughout the world relate to broader human rights and social justice concerns?
· How does incarceration affect women’s long-term health, employment, and housing prospects as well as their ability to maintain their relationships with their children, families and communities?
· In what ways have feminist legal theories addressed issues of punishment, retribution and redemption of incarcerated women?
· What are the vulnerabilities of incarcerated women, their children and their communities? How are these vulnerabilities connected to the exercise of rights inside prisons and in the community post-release? How can the vulnerabilities of incarcerated mothers and children be accounted for within a human rights framework?
· What are the experiences, rights and challenges faced by women incarcerated or detained in the U.S. but who are not U.S. citizens?
· How should scholars and policy makers address issues regarding the sexual and reproductive health of women in prison? How are incarcerated women’s sexual and reproductive rights linked to a broader social justice agenda?
· How should feminists approach issues of family connection and community integration as they affect incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and mothers?
· To what extent do other aspects of identity contribute to incarcerated women’s experiences whether in the criminal justice context or while institutionalized?
· How should international movements focused on prison abolition and alternatives to incarceration take into consideration issues relating specifically to women and mothers?
· What are the insights gained from comparative analysis of the incarceration of women? How are the trends in women’s incarceration related to country-specific conditions and/or global transformations in systems of crime and justice?
We welcome papers from all disciplines. Abstracts of 200- 300 words are due by December 22, 2008. Please email abstracts to Jan Sellem, Program Associate for the FLT Project: firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors will be informed of acceptance of proposals by January 5, 2009.
Workshop Organizers are Martha L.A. Fineman (Emory University School of Law), Kristin Bumiller (Professor, Amherst College), Pamela D. Bridgewater (Washington College of Law).