New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Occupy Prisons

February 14, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Victoria Law

‘We Must Not Turn Our Backs on Each Other…’

by Victoria Law

“Manhandled, arrested, cuffed, searched, and locked away in the Tombs” is how AlterNet described the story of protester Barbara Schneider Reilly, who spent 30 hours in jail after being arrested at an Occupy Wall Street-related protest in October 2011.

Reilly reported: “During the long, cold night in the Tombs, at some point we asked a female officer if we could have some blankets. ‘We have no blankets.’ Some mattresses since we were 12 or so people? ‘We have no more mattresses.’ Some change in exchange for dollar bills so we could call parents and loved ones? (The one public telephone in the cell would only take coins.) ‘It’s against regulations.’ Some soap? ‘Maybe we’ll come up with some soap.’ After no, no, no to every reasonable request, we wound up with a small jar of soap. Distressing is hardly the word for a culture of willful neglect and the exercise of what power those officers held over us for those 30 hours.”

While Reilly’s experience was horrific, it is only a sliver of the atrocities that over 114,000 women in prisons and jails must endure on a daily basis. When the article first appeared, I printed it out and circulated it to several currently incarcerated women and asked how Schneider’s weekend compared to their own realities. (more…)