Beacon Press: Entry Lessons
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Entry Lessons

The Stories of Women Fighting for Their Place, Their Children, and Their Futures After Incarceration

Author: Jorja Leap   Narrated by: Sonia Kallen

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Through oral histories, interviews, embedded observation, and research, the daily struggles of women returning to life after incarceration and concrete solutions to the seemingly hopeless issue.

At the end of 2019 in the United States, women comprised the fastest growing population within the criminal justice system. Despite this fact, their journey through this system has not received extensive attention; it is only beginning to be documented. As a result, the impact of women’s incarceration and reentry—both on their own lives and in the lives of their children and their families—is neither well understood nor effectively confronted.

Anthropologist Jorja Leap argues that all aspects of these women’s journey must be illuminated to fully grasp the issues. Leap explores first the traumas girls and women suffer, then the particular challenges faced by women in the criminal justice system, in incarceration, and throughout the reentry process. Leap tells the stories of women who suffer childhood abuse and neglect, including for example, Clara, who suffered twice—once as a child within the welfare system and then as a mother whose children were removed from her care and placed within the system—highlighting the ways the system fails women in particular. She finds that the lack of reentry programs is directly related to rates of recidivism, concluding that the cycle of trauma is the embedded in the system of reentry.

Having spent countless hours embedded in the reentry programs that do currently exist, including Susan Burton’s A New Way of Life, Leap tells the dramatic stories of many women caught in the system. She closes with several future-facing chapters. The experiences of formerly incarcerated women must be translated into lasting structural change through the development of meaningful programs and policies. Leap delves into pilot programs that offer meaningful models for changing the cycles of abuse and trauma in the lives of women.
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“Devastating revelations that humanize statistics while calling for reform.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In her book, Jorja Leap dives into the trauma that too many poor Black and Brown women face on the long and difficult road that leads to cycles of incarceration. The women she interviewed have given her and her readers the generous gift of their stories, so that those who have not lived similar experiences can begin to understand the criminalization of trauma, the harm done by the criminal injustice system, and the utter failure of society to provide support to women leaving incarceration. Let this book be a call to action to address that failure and to dramatically expand resources for women and girls exiting jails and prisons, particularly mothers striving to stay with their children. Let it also be a reminder of the beautiful resilience of formerly incarcerated women and a celebration of all that they have to offer.”
—Susan Burton, author of Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women

“Jorja Leap illuminates the pain endured by Latina, Black, and all women who have been incarcerated and the clear solutions to address their suffering. The many stories offered in the book exemplify the harm done when society invests in the wrong systems. These failures hurt not just those on whom they’ve been inflicted but all of us. Leap’s book depicts what must be done to ameliorate the trauma inflicted and instills a sense of urgency among readers. I have been a longtime supporter of A New Way of Life’s Susan Burton, having seen her immense impact, and I am grateful to Leap for capturing her meaningful fight for justice and dedicating the book to my sister Dr. Beatriz Solis, who lives on in the work of those like Susan Burton. As the book’s title duly notes, these women are fighting for their place, their children, and their futures following incarceration. It’s time we fight for them.”
—Hilda L. Solis, Los Angeles County supervisor

“Compelling and gloriously written. Entry Lessons advances the criminal justice conversation from an entrenched ‘pathology model’ to a ‘healing in community’ one. Jorja Leap doesn’t just point things out; she points the way. Leap makes the case for a gender-sensitive, trauma-informed, and person-centered focus on healing and relational wholeness. In these pages, we are informed, inspired, and filled with zeal to stop punishing the wounded but, rather, to seek to heal them.”
—Gregory J. Boyle, founder, Homeboy Industries

“Every day in the United States, women, especially women of color, are locked up because they are poor. Family separation and generational cycles of trauma are the result. Jorja Leap tells the stories of these women and offers the promise of a new way forward. A must-read for all those who care about family separation and the future of this country.”
—Zach Norris, author of Defund Fear

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Entry Lessons

ISBN: 978-080702289-4
Publication Date: 4/26/2022
Size: x
Price:  $20.00
Format: Audio
Availability: In stock.

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