Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Prison Food, Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work

Alabama is the New Connecticut

A is for Aliceville, AL
If you want to hear someone talk trash about the South, look elsewhere.  It ain't me you're looking for, babe.

When I studied in Northern Florida, I had the opportunity to travel extensively in the South, including tours of LA, AL, and MS (not to be confused with MI, aka Michigan).  With my Dad. Unexpectedly fun and engaging.

My favorite state, con diferencia, was/is Alabama.  Lovely people, delicious food, and endless history.  A lot of nasty bad stuff when down there to be sure, which makes the resilience and bravery of the state even more remarkable.  The folks who walked the bridge at Selma were, after all, mostly from Alabama, not Boston. Helen Keller. Jesse Owens. Rosa Parks. Zelda Sayre. Definitely something strong in that water.

So believe me when I tell you that my outrage about the closing of the US Federal Prison for women in Danbury, CT, and subsequent relocation of the 1,000+ inmates who are held there to Aliceville, AL, has nothing to do with Alabama, per se.  It has to do with the fact that the move will place these incarcerated women, who are primarily from the NE, over 1,000 miles away from friends, family, and the community based programs in their hometowns that will make their re-entry successful.  If the move happens, there will be no federal prison for women in the entire NE part of the US. The official reason for the move is that the system needs the Danbury space to accommodate increasing numbers of male prisoners.  Don't even get me started on that one.

Piper Kernan, semi-famous author of Orange is the New Black, the book and now the Netflix miniseries, was incarcerated at Danbury and wrote this very excellent editorial for the New York Times.

Here's a letter from 11 US Senators to the Federal Bureau of Prisons basically asking, "What the h***?"  My CT guys are signed on. Are your representatives?  Call. Write. Speak up.

The fight is on.  Be a part of it or get ready to carpool down to Aliceville.