As ‘Orange Is the New Black’ concludes its final season, the show’s cast and original author say it’s also time for mass incarceration in America to come to an end.
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OITNB CAST: It’s time to say goodbye.

After seven seasons, it’s time to say goodbye to ‘Orange is the New Black.’ And it’s time to say goodbye to mass incarceration too.

Women are the fastest growing incarcerated population in our nation.
That’s right.
Since 1980, the number of women behind bars in the U.S. has increased by more than 700%.
Is this because the U.S. is experiencing a female-driven crime spree?
It’s because our nation uses incarceration as a first resort when it should be used as a last resort.

There is no public safety rationale for the mass incarceration of women.
75 percent of women behind bars are there for non-violent crimes
like property crimes.. or public order charges… or drug crimes…
When it comes to women who are behind bars for drug crimes, in a lot of cases they’ve plead guilty to what many call “girlfriend charges”…
Which are crimes their romantic partners committed that resulted in them being charged and pleading guilty to conspiracy.
Does that sound familiar?

In addition, 25 percent of incarcerated women have yet to be convicted of a crime at all…
They are just sitting behind bars awaiting trial — in most cases because they can’t afford bail.

To add insult to injury — many women are in the system because the system didn’t protect them in the first place…
A majority of incarcerated women report being victims of physical or sexual abuse, and many experience the same types of abuse in prison.

Prison doesn’t just destroy incarcerated women’s lives, it destroys their loved ones’ lives as well.
A majority of women behind bars are mothers who are the primary caretakers of young children — young children who often end up in foster care.
And in the last year, 150,000 pregnant women were incarcerated.
Yes, pregnant women —
Pregnant women who often don’t get the maternal care they need while incarcerated and can be shackled while giving birth.

As you can imagine, all of this creates a vicious cycle.
Because children of incarcerated mothers are more likely to be incarcerated themselves later in life.
Prison severs family lifelines.
This is no surprise when you consider the fact that it’s hard for incarcerated women to stay in touch with their children.
Calling your child behind bars can cost as much as $1.50 a minute.

So what can we do to change this?
First, we need to stop incarcerating women for issues that would be better addressed by services…
Services like drug treatment programs and mental health services……
Physical and sexual abuse counseling…
And education and job training…

#OITNB #Prison #News #NowThis #NowThisNews

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