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A Woman Doing Life

Notes from a Prison for Women

Second Edition

Erin George, Edited by Robert Johnson, and Alison B. Martin

Publication Date - 15 December 2014

ISBN: 9780199935888

272 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The only book that tells stories of women in prison from the inside out


In A Woman Doing Life, author and inmate Erin George draws a vivid and uniquely raw portrait of female life in prison. By detailing her own experiences and sharing poignant stories from other female inmates, George gives insight into prison relationships, death and sickness, reactions from friends and family, and even "cooking" in prison.

New to this Edition

  • A new preface and epilogue by Erin George
  • Edited chapter introductions by Robert Johnson highlighting new content
  • An updated afterword includes new statistics and sections on medical practices in prison and the Prison Rape Elimination Act
  • A new appendix featuring a short story called "Cell Buddy" about the loneliness of life in a prison for women

About the Author(s)

About the Author

Erin George is an inmate at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Virginia, where she is serving a life sentence for murder.

About the Editors

Robert Johnson
is Professor of Justice, Law and Criminology in the School of Public Affairs at American University.

Alison B. Martin is Postdoctoral Research Associate at the National Institute of Justice.

Previous Publication Date(s)

January 2010


"George's narrative is a powerful, self-reflective, and elegantly written account of the unique experiences that women face in prison."--Rebecca Bordt, DePauw University

"A Woman Doing Life is very well written and engaging. It gives readers, young and old, a new perspective on what it's like to be a female inmate serving a life sentence."--Ashley G. Blackburn, University of North Texas

Table of Contents


    Introduction, Robert Johnson

    1. Jail Time
    2. Prison Time
    3. Love in a Cold Climate
    4. Violence Behind Bars: Women, Mano a Mano
    5. Shakedowns, Fakedowns, and Solitary Confinement
    6. Quality of Life (Loosely Defined)
    7. Living with Loss
    8. Programs, Privileges, and Oases of Creativity
    9. The Sick and the Dead
    10. Other Voices, Other Venues: Self-Portraits by Women in Prison
    11. Looking Out and Looking Back: Recidivism and Religion; Remorse and Redemption

    "Origami Heart," a poem by Erin George


    Afterword, Joycelyn Pollock

    Appendix A: Terms of Engagement: A Prison Glossary
    Appendix B: A Prison Cookbook
    Appendix C: Cell Buddy

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