Friday, June 08, 2007

Paris Hilton, Black Women in Prison, & Quilts

Paris Hilton is back in jail today shouting, "It's not right!"

The Bureau of Justice statistics reports that 2.186 million persons are being held in Federal or State prisons or in local jails in 2005. The latest figure I can find show that 38,817 Black Women were held in Federal or State prisons or 46% of the female population vs. 44.7% for white women.

In some prisons or correctional facilities across the US, volunteers teach quilting to inmates. Do the math, that's a lot of Sistah quilters and crafters behind bars. A few facilities that have or had quilting programs included:

Even male inmates are quilting. Katherine Mills reports about Quilting Convicts (WCC, page 20, 2003) at the Lea County Correctional Facility in Hobbs, New Mexico. Inmates can earn Good Works credits (and minimum $0.40 per hour) for taking part in the hand-quilting program.

Thanks to blogger, JenClaire of Bayou Quilts, for letting us know about Fine Cell Works, a British charity that promotes needlearts in prisons and sells their products, including quilts, online. WhipUp blogger talks about her experience with Fine Cell Works with the quilt teachers and the prisoners. (Photo from - Beyondmedia's Prison Installation Voices in Time: Lives in Limbo)


Anonymous said...

What an interesting article. Though
I don't quult, your surely teach me a lot about it. That's clever..
everyone else has Paris in the news, what a lead-in to today;s blog.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post about quilting programs in prisons. I wrote the post that you referred to on whipup that teaches quilting to men in British prisons but also have done research at a women's prison here in the US. I really believe that making things can be highly therapeutic and that there are a lot of moms behind bars. I hope that more prisons realize that giving inmates the option to make things not only helps them learn a skill but it could also make life better for their children. The children that are the unintended victims of their crimes.

Kyra said...

Weeks Ringle - Thanks for your comment! Agree about the affects on children. Has your research on US women's prisons been published? Would love to share the citation here for others.

Best, Kyra

Anonymous said...

Kyra, tracked you from the Black Authors and Publishers Directory to blogger which is also my site.

Glad to connect.

You are right about Paris' complaints re how she is not being treated fairly.

The reason they sent her back to jail is because she was re-writing how criminals would be dealt with in the future.

I could just imagine all the petitions to get out of jail.