V-Day’s Beyond Incarceration project, launched in 2019, expands and deepens V-Day’s ongoing work with formerly incarcerated women and incarcerated women, engaging and educating activists throughout the US and worldwide in a dialogue around restorative justice. Roslyn Smith is V-Day’s Beyond Incarceration Project Manager.
In her blog, Dispatches from Beyond Incarceration, Roz writes an ongoing series about her experiences as a formerly incarcerated women, including short and long dispatches on prison reform and prison abolition, often highlighting news articles around the experiences of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women, pieces highlighting what she’s thinking about, what she’s worried about, including interviews with formerly incarcerated women, stories from prison, visions of a world without prison, how violence against women leads to women coming to prison and then the violence they experience there, all the while highlighting important data and facts that shed light on incarceration and our commitment to restorative justice models. You will hear from women whose lives have been profoundly impacted by the prison and detention system on issues as far ranging as: trauma and abuse; shackling; transgender experiences; dignity; health and mental health; experiences of long term inmates; the youth/school to prison pipeline; the experiences of mothers and children navigating the immigration system; higher education in prison; and reentry and technology.
This past Mother’s Day, V-Day raised funds for our incarcerated sisters at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility to provide care packages of food and essentials to help ease conditions and to let them know we care. The women at Bedford are very close to our hearts. For years, V (formerly Eve Ensler) ran a writing group there for incarcerated women, and it is where she met Roz.
“This is a sad time for all of us, especially for me. I did my entire 39 year sentence at Bedford Hills. The women there are my family and dearest friends. I love and care deeply for them and have vowed to fight for their rights and dignity. Most of these women are past the age of 50 and many have poor health issues that are not being addressed properly. Visiting has been suspended indefinitely and phone calls are limited to within an hour time frame along with taking a shower, washing clothing, fixing a meal or going to the kiosk to send an email or download a book. The mess hall has limited food to dispense and the commissary is short on supplies. The women must be so lonely and frightened at this time my heart is broken, especially for the children who haven’t seen their mothers since this began and for the woman in federal prison who was serving a 26-month sentence and died of Covid-19 several weeks after giving birth to her child while on a ventilator.” – Roslyn Smith