ARRWIP Reflections

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speaking and listening

Using person-centered language

ARRWIP uses humanizing language when talking about people who experience incarceration. That means not using labels like “inmate,” “felon,” “offender,” and other fixed terms that define a person solely according to their confinement status. Instead, we use “person experiencing incarceration,” or “incarcerated individual.” For more information and guidance on language, see this resource from the Fortune Society and this article.

We prefer to use the term “criminal legal system” instead of “criminal justice system,” as there are many things that are not just about this system.

We acknowledge that people with the capacity to be pregnant do not all identify as women, and that people of all gender identities have reproductive health needs. We aim to use gender inclusive language, such as pregnant individual instead of pregnant woman, pregnant capable people, and also refer to “women” when appropriate for the situation.

BLM reflection

In Solidarity Fighting Racial Injustice

As researchers who gather data in order to advocate for reproductive health care for people behind bars, the ARRWIP team recognizes the murders of unarmed Black and Brown people as acts of violence by law enforcement that have centuries’ long history in this country.  Such police violence and the systemic racism and white supremacist structures from which it arises are– and always have been– public and individual health crises. And they are the same forces that have shaped mass incarceration, which disproportionately confines and harms Black and Brown communities. This is why the work we do is not merely about improving reproductive health services in carceral institutions—it is connected to the broader work of reproductive and racial justice that seeks to dismantle our reliance on institutions of incarceration, to dismantle racism within health care institutions and beyond.  We support Black Lives Matter, and stand in solidarity with others opposing racism in all its forms.

covid 19

COVID-19 Reflections

COVID-19 has had a disproportionate and negative impact on people who are incarcerated. We support efforts to de-populate institutions of incarceration as a sound public health measure to protect the wellbeing of people behind bars– especially for pregnant people. Read ARRWIP director Carolyn Sufrin’s op-ed in USA Today on why we should be prioritizing pregnant folks for release during COVID-19.

​We recommend the following resources to learn more about COVID-19 and incarcerated people: