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Book recommendations

The perfect picks to learn more about ending the over-incarceration of women and girls worldwide. Here we share a list of books* from women with lived experience of incarceration and legal systems; lawyers and academic researchers; abolitionists and activists. We will keep adding to this list - but if you think we are missing something let us know!

*Views expressed in these books are those of the author/s and do not necessarily represent those of Women Beyond Walls. 


Books by women with lived experience/first person perspectives

  1. Behind Bars: On Punishment, Prison and Release  - Lady Unchained 

  2. A Little Piece of Light: A Memoir of Hope, Prison and Life Unbound - Donna Hylton with Kristine Gasbarre

  3. Corrections In Ink: A Memoir - Keri Blakinger

  4. No Roses from my Mouth: Poems from Prison - Stella Nyanzi

  5. Memoir's from the Women's Prison  - Nawal El Saadawi

  6. Are Prisons Obsolete? - Angela Davis

  7. Of Women Inside: Prison Voices from India - Rani Dhavan Shankardass

  8. Inside this Place, Not Of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons, Voice of Witness

  9. My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran - Haleh Esfandiari

  10. Riot Days - Maria Alyokhina

  11. Forget You Had a Daughter: Doing Time in the 'Bangkok Hilton' - Sandra Gregory and Michael Tierney

  12. The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival - Alicia Partnoy

  13. The Prison Memoirs of a Japanese Woman  - Kaneko Fumiko

  14. Women Surviving Apartheid's Prisons - Shanthini Naidoo 

  15. Sara: Prison Memoir of a Kurdish Revolutionary - Sakine Cansiz

  16. A Tragedy of Lives: Women in Prison in Zimbabwe - Chiedza Musengezi and Irene Staunton, editors

  17. Miss Major Speaks: Conversations with a Black Trans Revolutionary - Toshio Meronek and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

  18. Out of the Ashes I Rise: Surviving BCDC - Mecks Macs


Professional perspectives and subject expert views

  1. The Prison Teacher - Mim Skinner

  2. The Prison Doctor: Women Inside - Dr Amanda Brown

  3. Abolition, Feminism, Now - Angela Davis, Gina Dent, Erica Meiners & Beth Richie

  4. Eve Was Shamed: How British Justice is Failing Women - Helena Kennedy

  5. Getting Wrecked: Women, Incarceration and the American Opioid Crisis - Kimberly Sue 

  6. Criminal Women: Gender Matters - By Sharon Grace, Maggie O'Neill, Tammi Walker, Hannah King, Lucy Baldwin, Alison Jobe, Orla Lynch, Fiona Measham, Kate O'Brien and Vicky Seaman

  7. Reistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women - Victoria Law 

  8. Imperfect Victims - Leigh Goodmark


Other writing that doesn't focus explicitly on women, but well worth reading

  1. Prisoner Writings on Prison Abolition 

  2. In The Belly - An Abolitionist Journal Created for People in Prison

  3. Prison by Any Other Name - The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms - Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law

  4. Abolitionist Futures has a great reading list if you want to expand your learning.

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