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2015 Spring Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Community... has ended
Wednesday, April 22 • 9:40am - 10:00am
“How Appalachian Women’s Voices Have Been Rendered Silent in Correctional Institutions”

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This paper examines the stories of recently incarcerated women from Buncombe County, NC and Letcher County, KY. As national rates of incarceration continue to rise, the discourse on incarceration remains narrowly focused upon urban men. Media outlets often report on stories that support common stereotypes about urban men and crime while ignoring the economic and social factors that contribute to criminal behavior for people of all genders. It remains true that men are incarcerated at a tremendous rate. However, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report published in 2013, women nationally are jailed at a rate that has more than doubled that of men in the last two decades. Incarcerated Appalachian women often have histories of mental illness, violence, and substance abuse. Economic conditions in rural areas often force women to pursue “survival crime” as a means of subsistence when no other avenues of support are available. There are few programs designed to assist women upon release from jail and those that exist are often very limited. Continual erasure by the media and intervention programs has resulted in marginalization of incarcerated women from rural areas. Central Appalachian women need a forum to speak about their communities and the intersectional systems that have affected their lives after jail. As their stories remain untold, effective intervention methods remain underdeveloped. Providing an outlet for women’s voices is a crucial first step to understanding the needs of women who are at greatest risk for criminal behavior and subsequent erasure.

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Wednesday April 22, 2015 9:40am - 10:00am
246 Zageir Hall

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