In a posh ballroom overlooking Central Park on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a hushed roomful of state and local elected officials from across the country gathered for a 9 a.m. Sunday session. It was the sort of weekend conference that routinely fills banquet rooms across the country, but it was remarkable for one simple fact: Every single official in attendance was a young woman.
On the final morning of the Young Elected Officials Women’s Conference, held earlier this month, dozens of enthralled leaders leaned over cooling mugs of coffee to hear two panelists present a series of grim facts on the number of women incarcerated in America’s prisons—that rape was such a problem in women’s facilities that inmates on death row had to be checked if they were pregnant, for example. Or that the rate of incarceration of women is growing twice as fast as the number of men in prison.
Everyone present could testify to how the mass incarceration of womenhad impacted their districts and counties. The audience pressed the panel on what they could do to get medication into prisons, how they could overcome logistical barriers to doing outreach in women’s facilities, and how they might disrupt a school-to-prison pipeline that frequently seized upon students of color.
Click here to read the full article published by The Root on 19 February 2019.