photo cred: Getty Images

photo cred: Getty Images

lotl: the trauma room

When I met Deborah, she had just come home from a prison in upstate New York. Deborah, which is not her real name, had cycled in and out of prison for nearly 30 years, mostly for shoplifting– stealing expensive clothes, bagging up coats, and sunglasses.

Deborah was one of a dozen women I spoke with a for a qualitative research study on how women react to solitary confinement. I found that women respond in some unique ways. Specifically, women in prison are often survivors of sexual violence, and solitary confinement can exacerbate that trauma.

A big thanks to Tina Tinen for her crucial help in reporting this story. This work was supported by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Correctional Association of New York.