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.
Animated short ‘Doing Time: A Woman’s View’ was released on 10 April 2023, featuring writings by incarcerated & formerly incarcerated women from the Right/Write to Heal Initiative, a joint project of the Columbia Center for Justice and V-Day’s Beyond Incarceration Project, in collaboration with Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA) and Human Pictures.
Writings by the Right/Write to Heal Initiative’s Jonel Beauvais, Judy Clark, Leah Faria, Selina Fulford, Latisha Morris, Harmony, Betsy Ramos, Edna Sams, V-Day’s Beyond Incarceration Project Manager Roslyn Smith, and Cheryl Wilkins are included in the short film.
Through Right/Write to Heal, women share how they cope with the consequences of incarceration on themselves, their families and communities, with the goal of changing how people understand the impact of criminalization on women. Writing and storytelling are therapeutic interventions for people who have experienced loss and trauma, and can lead to healing, redemption, and intimacy when shared collectively and with others who have been impacted. The goal is to humanize the unique individual and collective experiences of women, particularly women of color, who from early in their lives face racism, violence, and structural barriers that lead to punishment and imprisonment.
“We believe the time is overdue for women impacted by the justice system to tell their own stories, in their own voices, about how they experienced incarceration and what it has done to their lives on the inside and after being released, acknowledging the harm we have done and the trauma we experienced on our journeys to healing.”
– Right/Write to Heal Initiative