Born Inside –
June 4, 2019 – Two-thirds of them are mothers of young children; an unknown number are pregnant. Many of them have substance use disorders with a significant history of trauma and mental health problems. Some have been incarcerated solely for the alleged crime of substance use during pregnancy, and many have lost custody of their children because there aren’t enough treatment centers for women and their kids. Incarceration rates in the U.S. are growing faster among women than among men, and black women are imprisoned at twice the rate of white women. With the country in the grip of a deadly opioid epidemic, segments of America continue to pursue prosecution and incarceration when treatment and support are needed. Why do legislators, law enforcement, and misdirected policymakers persist in this cruel and traumatic crusade against women and their children? One answer is the racism inherent in the justice system, in drug testing, and the demographics of punishment — an enduring and gendered plague.