JUDY WOODRUFF: But now: The U.S. locks more people up than any other country. More than two million Americans are in jails or prisons here, and more than 200,000 of those prisoners are female. Amna Nawaz takes a closer look at the conditions faced by women behind bars.
AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, nearly 30 percent of all incarcerated women worldwide are in the United States. And the number of women in U.S. prisons has risen more than 700 percent in the last 40 years. With that increase came a recognition that men and women in custody have different needs. Now, earlier this year, the Department of Justice's inspector general conducted a review of how the Federal Bureau of Prisons handles female inmates. Leaders from both organizations testified today on Capitol Hill, where Democrats and Republicans expressed concerns about prison conditions. The report, released in September, made several recommendations. Among them, provide better training for staff on needs of women and trauma victims. More than 85 percent of women in prison reported some physical or sexual trauma in their lifetime. Increase awareness of pregnancy programs for inmates. Just 37 percent of pregnant inmates participate in programs. And increase access to feminine hygiene products. To talk about how these recommendations would affect women in prison, I'm joined by Andrea James. She's an attorney who served two years in a federal prison for mortgage fraud in Danbury, Connecticut. After her release, she founded the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. Andrea James, welcome to the NewsHour. As we mentioned, before you were an advocate, before you served your time, you were an attorney focusing mostly on criminal defense. I'm curious. When you first got to prison, what was it that struck you about the people and the conditions inside?
ANDREA JAMES, Founder, National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls: In terms of what struck me when I walked into the federal prison for women in Danbury, Connecticut, as an incarcerated woman, was to see a sea of predominantly black and brown women who were being warehoused in a prison. And coming from the extensive background that I have with my family as civil rights folks, it just really made me realize that what I was seeing was the result of policy that had disproportionately affected poor women, women of color, and that a prison will never be the place for a woman or a girl to begin to heal and advance her life.
AMNA NAWAZ: Let me ask you about something else you mentioned about the relationship between incarcerated mothers and their children. There's a striking statistic. It's more than 60 percent of women in state prisons have children under the age of 18. When you served your time, you left behind some young children as well. Tell me about what it's like to be serving time in a prison and try to maintain that bond. How easy is it?
ANDREA JAMES: Well, it's not easy at all. I was very fortunate. I was very privileged, as an incarcerated person. I had a husband who brought my children to see me every single visit. I left behind at the time a 12-year-old daughter. And my son was six months old when I walked into that prison. And, for me, I had the opportunity and that was incredibly heartbreaking. It was incredibly difficult to be separated from them. And I walked into a prison that was crammed full of women who had not seen their children. And then, even after incarceration, phone calls are extraordinarily costly. It's very difficult to be able to stay connected to your children, particularly if, when you were sent to prison, your children were separated and sent to different households to live in. And so mothers often had to make a decision as to which child she was going to call, and often had only enough money, we made 12 cents an hour in the prison for the most part, only having enough money to call one child or make one phone call to a child a month.
AMNA NAWAZ: You know, Andrea, some will say, look, lack of resources, access to resources, that's a problem system wide, not just for women, but also for men. So why do you think that this is a specific issue that needs addressing for women who are incarcerated? And, also, why do you think we're talking so much about it right now?
ANDREA JAMES: Women have very specific, gender-specific reasons as to what leads them into the behavior that lands them on a prison bunk.
And, often, the system doesn't recognize those things as mitigating factors, or even pays attention to what those things are. And so we need to do a better job of paying attention that. And, yes, there are men, obviously, who are incarcerated, and they make up the majority of the prison population in the country. But the fact of the matter is that, for many of the reasons that women are incarcerate for, we need to find other solutions, because they are directly in relation to women being victims themselves.
AMNA NAWAZ: You advocate for prison reform, making conditions better. We heard the pushback in Congress earlier today. Some will say, prison is not meant to be comfortable. People who are serving crimes, serving time for committing crimes don't need to be that comfortable and have all these resources available to them. What do you say to that?
ANDREA JAMES: Well, listen, if prison was the answer, we wouldn't have the, we wouldn't be the most incarcerating country on the planet right now. Prison is not the answer. And I think we need to learn from the mistakes that we have made. We have increased the incarceration numbers in this country for four decades now. That's long enough for us to realize that it's not the solution. The solution needs to come from within the communities that have been most directly affected. We need investments, not in more prison and prison building and investing in those prisons. We need to invest in the communities where folks are coming from, where they are disproportionately represented in the prisons. And that includes social and economic resources that currently are vastly lacking in many marginalized communities.
AMNA NAWAZ: Andrea James, thank you very much.
ANDREA JAMES: Thank you.
1.in custody 拘留
At the last count the police in the Rimini area had 247 people in custody.
2.take a look at 审视
I had to get out of the rat race and take a look at the real world again.
3.criminal defense 刑事辩护
Jay Fahy, a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, explains relevant laws.
4.in relation to 有关
He is the sixth person to be arrested in relation to the coup plot.
5.separated from 分开
The front end of the car separated from the rest of the vehicle
朱迪·伍德拉夫：目前来看，美国的囚犯人数比任何国家都要多。有200多万美国人锒铛入狱，其中有20多万人是女性 。下面请听阿姆纳·纳瓦兹发回的有关监狱女囚状况的详细报道 。
阿姆纳·纳瓦兹：朱迪好。美国占全球监狱女囚数量的近30% 。过去40年来，美国监狱中女囚的数量增长了7倍多 。这个数字的增长让我们认识到：男女囚的需求是不同的 。如今，今年初，司法部检察长审视了联邦监狱局是如何对待女囚的 。这两个机构的领导人今天在国会大厦作了证，民主党、共和党议员们对监狱条件表达了担忧 。这份报告发布于9月，其中陈述了几项建议 。其中有一项是——为女性的需求和有创痛的受害者提供更好的培训 。据报告，85%以上的女囚都存在肉体或性经历方面的创痛 。要增强犯人们对妊娠项目的意识 。但监狱里只有37%孕妇参加了这个项目 。此外还有一项建议是：增加女性接触卫生类产品的机会 。为了进一步了解这些建议会对监狱女囚产生怎样的影响，我们今天请来了安德莉亚·詹姆斯 。她是一名律师，因贷款欺诈问题在康涅狄格州的丹伯里入狱过2年 。刑满释放后，她成立了国家监狱和前监狱女性犯人委员会 。安德莉亚·詹姆斯，欢迎您来到《新闻一小时》 。正如我们之前提到的，在您成为倡导者之前，在您服刑之前，您是一位专注于刑事辩护的律师 。我很想知道，您第一次入狱时，最让您对犯人和监狱环境感到震惊的是什么地方？
阿姆纳·纳瓦兹：我想再问一下，您提到过的监狱中的人母们和自己孩子之间的关系。有一个数据让人震惊——60%多的监狱女性都有未成年的孩子 。在服刑的同时，也丢下了年纪尚小的孩子 。您能聊聊在监狱服刑期间还要维持亲子关系的感受吗？是不是很艰难？
而且我们的钱刚好够 。大多数时候，监狱里我们每小时只能得到12美分，这个钱只够给一个孩子打电话，或者每个月给一个孩子打一次电话 。
安德莉亚·詹姆斯：女性有与性别有关的确切理由才导致她们做出了让自己锒铛入狱的行为。而且，通常体系也不会认定这些问题正在缓解，甚至不会注意这些问题 。所以我们需要加大力度注意这个问题 。我承认，当然也有男性囚犯，而且男性囚犯占美国鉴于人数的大多数 。但事实是：女性入狱有很多原因，我们需要找到其他解决方案，因为女性本身也是直接受害者 。
阿姆纳·纳瓦兹：您呼吁进行监狱改革，改善监狱的环境。我们听说今天早上，国会也有推动这件事 。有些人会说，监狱注定就不是个舒坦的地方 。犯人们在监狱里是去服刑的，是因为犯了罪才去的，所以不需要营造舒服的环境，不需要让他们应有尽有 。您对此怎么看呢？
安德莉亚·詹姆斯：我觉得是这样——如果监狱就能解决一切问题，那么美国就不会成为世界上入狱人数最多的国家了。所以监狱并不是解决方案 。我认为，我们需要吸取教训 。过去40年来，入狱人数增加 。40年很长了，足以让我们意识到监狱并非解决方案 。解决方案需要来自各社群，各个直接受到影响的社群 。我们需要投资，不只是投资于建造更多的监狱和大楼，投资于监狱本身 。我们更需要投资于社群，社群是囚犯来自的地方，但在监狱中的比例却极大的失衡了 。这其中就包括很多边缘化社群广泛缺乏社会资源和经济资源 。