Worldwide, the number of incarcerated women in prison is rising and incarceration is increasingly defining our society and economy internationally.
Especially in the U.S., crime is seen as an individual’s pathology, not a social issue. These stories and images can help the public see the face of incarceration and illuminate the ‘revolving door’ created by poor public policies and lives fragmented by ignorance, poverty and by years, even lifetimes, of abuse. Incarcerated women are unique in that they are mothers, and within the criminal justice system disproportionately have histories of mental health issues, sexual and physical abuse. Prompted by the question –– What is the purpose of imprisonment? ––I began interviewing women prisoners incarcerated in California and photographing the lives of some of these women after they are released, providing a deeper look into the ripple effects of incarceration in families and communities. The circumstances leading to incarceration are imperative to gaining a better understanding of women within the criminal justice system and to design policies that serve lives rather than hinder them.
I have continued to look at the same issues in Uganda and hope to expand to other countries. My aim is to illuminate the unique, but universal needs of women prisoners internationally.
Photography, to me, is about social engagement. My work focuses on everyday epics and humanizing faceless statistics through storytelling. I am currently based in Brooklyn, New York working as a freelance photographer. www.ullmanphoto.com
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California Coalition for Women Prisoners: http://womenprisoners.org/
Prison Fellowship International - Uganda: http://www.pfi.org/national-ministries/africa/uganda