“A call to action … A reminder of the beautiful resilience of formerly incarcerated women and a celebration of all that they have to offer.” –Susan Burton, author of Becoming Ms. Burton and founder of A New Way of Life
Urgent and empathetic, Entry Lessons is one of the first examinations of the lasting impact of incarceration on women and their families
Recent reports show that women make up the fastest-growing population within the United States’ criminal justice system. And yet, despite necessary conversations about incarceration and prison abolition, their stories of abuse, neglect, poverty, and family separation often go untold. Now, through immersive storytelling and expert analysis of women’s lives after prison, anthropologist Jorja Leap explores their journeys into, through, and beyond the jail cell.
In these pages, you’ll meet women like:
-Ivy and Janet, accused of murder, whose intertwined stories of childhood harm, domestic abuse, and gang violence unfold throughout the book
-Denise, who confronts the lasting impact of her childhood sexual trauma as she struggles with relationships and the realities of homelessness
-Rosa, a survivor of sex trafficking whose relationship with her mother–her trafficker–is fraught with conflicting feelings she works to resolve
-Carmen, whose search for love ultimately endangers not just her life but also the lives of her children
-Clara, who survived placement in the child welfare system only to experience having her own children sent to foster care
-Angela and Ronnie, two women navigating the complexities of sexuality and queerness in and out of prison
Leap chisels away at superficial narratives to unearth pasts rife with struggle and oppression. She reveals the sharp edges of reentry and the wounds suffered by these women and their families, exposing a cycle of trauma that powers the revolving door of reentry and reincarceration. And, still, Entry Lessons
is a book of hope just as much as it is of pain. Leap calls for systemic change through the development of meaningful reentry programs and policies that will have a lasting, life-changing impact on women as they rebuild their lives and especially as they are able to reclaim their children.