Women in Prison

This Alabama prison houses more than 900 women inmates.

In 1991, Melissa Springer began documenting the lives of these women. The project lasted for five years, and became an acclaimed photo essay depicting the penal system for women in America.

All these photos were taken in the Isolation Unit of Julia Tutwiler Women’s Prison.

“This woman was in isolation because she was a new inmate. That was the protocol. I don’t know her name, but I remember she was only going to be in for a short sentence (6-8 months for a non violent crime). She was eager to speak. The new prison commissioner was now taking the beds out of the isolation units during the day so the inmates could only sit on the concrete floor. She was given a sheet. She was afraid and lonely. We spoke for the few minutes allowed. We touched hands and I left.” –Melissa Springer



Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend