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“Quite Refreshing”

Mar 12th, 2009 | Category: Conditions in County Jails

I gave an informal talk to a group of international dignitaries, women from various countries in Africa as well as Turkey, India, Singapore who are touring the U.S. under the auspices of the UN US Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The delegation’s topic in the US is “Women in the US Criminal Justice System.”

When I paused for breath, having gotten quite passionate in my railing about the attitudes toward inmates and about treatment of incarcerated women and the fact of there being so little oversight of jails, they looked at me with something like shock. I began to apologize for being so negative and vehement, but one woman said, “Oh no, it’s quite refreshing. All we hear back in my country from your embassy and officials is how perfect your system is, how transparent and humane—and how badly we treat people compared to you.”

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