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Women Beyond Bars: Additional Resources

Interested in learning more? Check out the podcasts, books and other media below, compiled by Women Beyond Bars.

Resource List


  • Women’s Health, Incarcerated by whinc.

    “The incarceration rate of women has exponentially increased in the past few decades. Gender discrimination in the U.S. criminal legal system and its impacts on health are highly prevalent. And yet, we don’t talk about it. Women’s Health, Incarcerated. aims to raise awareness on and discuss potential solutions to these injustices, informed by researchers, activists, and organizers. Join Bhavana and Vennela as they interview experts and individuals with lived experiences and provide insight on the public health crisis that is our current incarceration system. You can find us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.”
  • Women in Prison: The Devastating Impact of Rising Incarceration by Open Society Foundations

    “A panel of experts explores innovative strategies being launched to counter rising incarceration rates among women in the Americas. Speeakers: Soheila Comninos, Andrea James, Kasia Malinowska, Ana Pecova, Coletta Youngers.”
  • Ear Hustle by formerly and currently incarcerated people from the San Quentin State Prison in California

    “The daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it, and stories from the outside, post-incarceration.”
  • Prison Radio

    Prison Radio records and broadcasts the voices of prisoners, centering their analyses and experiences in the movements against mass incarceration and state repression.
  • Armchair Expert episode by Dax Shepard ft. Susan Burton

    “Susan chats with the Armchair Expert about her heartbreaking story – battling addiction, losing her son, and her time spent within the prison system. Dax and Susan discuss the control that prisons seek and how often prisoners are survivors of trauma.”
  • Where She Stands: The OITNB Podcast by Piper Kerman

    “Each episode features an exclusive interview with a cast member from Orange is the New Black and dives into real stories from women navigating the prison system in America.”


  • Inner Lives: Voices of African American Women in Prison by Paula Johnson

    “The rate of women entering prison has increased nearly 400 percent since 1980, with African American women constituting the largest percentage of this population. However, despite their extremely disproportional representation in correctional institutions, little attention has been paid to their experiences within the criminal justice system.”
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman

    “With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 — one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules, where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman's story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison — why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they're there.”
  • Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons edited by Ayelet Waldman and Robin Levi

    “People in U.S. prisons are routinely subjected to physical, sexual, and mental abuse. While this has been documented in male prisons, women in prison often suffer in relative anonymity. Women Inside addresses this critical social justice issue, empowering incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women to share the stories that have previously been silenced.”
  • Becoming Ms. Burton by Susan Burton

    “One woman’s remarkable odyssey from tragedy to prison to recovery—and recognition as a leading figure in the national justice reform movement.”
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

    “In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness.”
  • Felon by Reginald Dwayne Betts

    “Felon tells the story of the effects of incarceration in fierce, dazzling poems—canvassing a wide range of emotions and experiences through homelessness, underemployment, love, drug abuse, domestic violence, fatherhood, and grace—and, in doing so, creates a travelogue for an imagined life. Reginald Dwayne Betts confronts the funk of postincarceration existence and examines prison not as a static space, but as a force that enacts pressure throughout a person’s life.”
  • Bastards of the Reagan Era by Reginald Dwayne Betts

    “Bastards of the Reagan Era is a challenge, confronting realities that frame an America often made invisible. Within these poems, we see the city as distant lover, we hear "the sound that comes from all / the hurt & want that leads a man to turn his back to the world." We see that and we see each reason why we return to what pains us.”

Other Media

  • Hidden Lives Illuminated – Film Project by currently-incarcerated artists
  • Testif-i – Project by Susan Burton from her “New Way of Life” re-entry project

    “Through Testif-i, formerly incarcerated women and their children share their truth, trauma and triumph, helping to heal their own pain while sparking awareness at the same time.”
  • Healing Justice – Film by World Trust

    “The film walks back through the history of violence that has led to our current system, bringing into focus the histories of trauma – on a personal, interpersonal, community, and generational level.”