Book Review: Women lifers: Lives before, behind, and beyond bars

Published date01 September 2023
AuthorMichelle L. Malkin
Date01 September 2023
Subject MatterBook Reviews
but limited by the need to carry on with other life responsibilities, such as work or family, which pre-
cluded them from risking too much. Nevertheless, they were also inspired to engage in conventional
system change, such as community organizing. Tourist protesters were more likely to be frightened
away by police repression, though they often committed to supporting the protest movement in other,
less risky ways. In Chapter 6, Cobbina applies Waddington et al.s (1987) ash points model of
public disorder to demonstrate how structural, political/ideological, cultural, institutional/organizational,
contextual, situational, and interactional factors can explain and predict when ash pointsof public
disorder are likely to occur. Covering the factual ground presented in the book, Cobbina reorients the
discussion within this framework to explain what the world watched in Ferguson and Baltimore. Her
work here makes clear that greater use and consideration of Waddingtons work is warranted.
Overall, the book provides a comprehensive narrative of protestorsexperience and feelings of the
demonstrations against police abuse that took place in 2014 and 2015 in Ferguson and Baltimore. Its
style is clear and easy to understand, making this a good initial read for scholars or students interested
in these specic events, encountering protest studies for the rst time, or seeking real-life applications
of Waddingtons Flashpoints model. Just as important is how clear the book makes it, implicitly if
not explicitly, that Americans viewing democracy movements across the globe need look no further
than here at home to discover the conditions that spark them.
Kwan-Lamar Blount-Hill
Dye, M. H., & Aday, R. H. (2019).
Women lifers: Lives before, behind, and beyond bars. Rowman & Littleeld, vii, 225pp. $36.00, ISBN: 978-1-5381-
Reviewed by: Michelle L. Malkin ,Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016819899130
While the vast majority of literature written about the experiences of those who receive life sentences
has focused on men, there is growing attention on women. Dye and Adays new book Women Lifers:
Lives Before, Behind, and Beyond Bars (Rowan & Littleeld) adds a powerful and in-depth look at
the lives of women who are serving life sentences in three Georgia prisons. The authors offer a thor-
ough and intimate look at womens lives before and during prison, as well as their hopes and dreams
after release. While not the rst book published to look specically at female lifers, this book offers a
unique view and commentary on womens pathways to life sentences, their adjustment to the carceral
system, and the specic needs that are not always addressed through prison programming and
The authors begin with a gendered prole of lifers in the United States and more specically
women in the state of Georgia. As sociologists, they conducted research over an 8-year period uti-
lizing two surveys. They collected additional data through informal communications with partici-
pants. The authors support their ndings with tables and charts that aid readers in understanding.
They also intermittently provide short and interesting participant case histories that help highlight
many of the books themes. Women Lifers offers a comprehensive analysis of how the needs of
women with long prison sentences diverge from typical prison populations.
A signicant portion of the book (Chapters 2 and 3) is dedicated to the womens pathways to
prison. Drawing on the research of Kathleen Daly and others, Dye and Aday offer evidence that
406 Criminal Justice Review 48(3)

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