So many of us tune into "Orange Is the New Black" and see the humanity behind the standard-issue prison uniforms when we find out each woman's backstory and see the pain in her eyes. Read just a few of the stats below. Isn't it time for more compassion — not just for fictional characters, but for real women, too?
What's more, mental health is a significant cause or factor of incarceration. Below is an excerpt from an ACLU report on the effects of solitary confinement on female inmates:
"Meghan, who had battled depression for years, found herself pregnant behind bars in a system designed without thinking about her health.
Because of her pregnancy, Meghan had to discontinue some of her mental-health medications. She also needed extra sleep. When, one day, a guard decided Meghan didn't get up fast enough for mealtime, she was sent to solitary confinement as punishment.
Placement in solitary caused Meghan to miss her prenatal vitamins. It also meant social isolation for an expectant mother who was fighting clinical depression.
The extreme isolation made Meghan highly anxious. Her requests for water from guards were denied— sometimes for several hours, despite the heat in her isolation cell and the known danger of dehydration during pregnancy."