In the words of Victoria Law, the editor, our recently acquired zine* series is “a collection of articles, essays, poetry and art by formerly and currently incarcerated women across the United States. Their works cover subjects like the health care (or lack of health care) system, being HIV-positive inside prison, trying to get an education while in prison, sexual harassment by prison staff and general prison conditions, and giving up children for adoption—in the U.S., if a child is in foster care for 15 of the past 22 months, the state automatically terminates the parent’s legal rights. Many women in prison have sentences far exceeding 15 months and the majority of them were single parents before entering prison” (Tenacious, 2009).
Law founded Tenacious in 2003 in response to a request from incarcerated women in Oregon who could find no outlet for their work. It is produced in print format only. As access to the internet is extremely limited within prisons, an “open access” publishing model would be of no benefit whatsoever to the majority of the zine’s incarcerated readers. Law handles distribution herself, mailing issues to women prisoners free of charge, and covering her costs by asking readers on the outside to pay $3 per issue.
*What’s a zine? It’s a DIY-style publication of original work, usually with a small circulation.
- Tenacious: Art and writing from women in prison: An interview with Vikki Law from New York, United States. 2/13/2009.
- Law, Victoria. (2007). Incarcerated women create their own media (available online to John Jay community). Off our backs 37(1): 37-42.