By Michelle Williams A documentary about the Paper City will be screened in Monson this weekend with a discussion about the “school-to-prison pipeline” to follow.
Whether you wear a prison uniform or college clothes, people all have dreams, hopes, fears and wish to be understood. This became the sentiment from both women inmates at and several college students at Dartmouth College after working together creating a play and subsequent documentary, Telling My Story, about the lives of incarcerated women.
The 14 female prisoners are spending incarcerated time at the Sullivan County House of Correction in Unity in New Hampshire. The 10 students were enrolled in a community-based learning course at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. For 10 weeks the unlikely combination of Dartmouth college students and Sullivan County prisoners collaborated to create a play that addressed the difficulty of women in prison.
The United States has one of the largest growing prison population in the world. And the largest growing population within US prisons are people of color. Some theorize that this has become “The New Jim Crow.”
In February 2012, Matthew Pillischer directed a movie titled, “Broken On All Sides,” which is a documentary whose focus is on mass incarceration across the nation and the intersection of race and poverty within the criminal justice world. According to people who have worked on the documentary, people of color are more likely to be targeted at higher rates for stops, searches, arrests, prosecutions and harsher sentences.
• Over 200,000 women are in prison and jail in the United States, and more than one million women are under criminal justice supervision.
• The number of women in prison has grown by over 800% in the past three decades.
• Two thirds of women in prison are there for non-violent offenses, many for drug- related crimes.