Inside Out

When Irma Rodriguez learned she had HIV she was serving time in prison on drug charges. For the next 15 years of her incarceration, she submitted herself to numerous harsh treatments, hoping she would not lose her life to the disease. Eventually she was released from prison only to discover something even more distressing: She had never actually had HIV. Rodriguez’s story of incompetent prison medical care is sadly not unique; hers is one of many dehumanizing experiences depicted in the new book Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons, published by the McSweeney’s nonprofit imprint Voice of Witness. Co-editors Ayelet Waldman and Robin Levi join Rodriguez for Stories of Women Inside, an open discussion about the book and about the injustices enacted against women in the U.S. prison system. The inmates interviewed for Inside This Place give their own accounts of rape, sterilization without consent, and other abuse by prison guards. Waldman is a former public defender, and Levi is the director of local women’s prison rights organization Justice Now. They hope that illuminating these shocking narratives will change the system, and let the women inside know we are listening.
Sun., Oct. 9, 2:30 p.m., 2011

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