S.O.S. - Supporting Our Sisters

‘Tis the season to give and Loyal Nana wants to help you make a big difference in a small way.

This month, Loyal Nana will be sending out holiday cards to some of the women incarcerated in New York State prisons and we want you to be a part of the magic! 

What you can do to help...

hint, its easy...

Send us a heartfelt message via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, over email, or simply leave a comment below of some kinds words you would want to extend to a woman in prison. Remind her that you see her humanity and that she is not forgotten! The Loyal Nana team will personally write your messages on cards and send them off to incarcerated women in New York just in time for the holidays! Your love and words of encouragement can mean the world to someone who may be otherwise forgotten. 

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Name (we will sign the letter with your first name) *
Name (we will sign the letter with your first name)

There are currently 22,000 incarcerated women in New York prisons and jail, and a record-breaking 219,000 women behind bars in the United States altogether, a number that has grown by 800% over the past 30 years and is not showing any signs of decreasing. This frightening number is only worsened by the fact that nearly 60% of these women have not been convicted of a crime and are awaiting trial. So why such high numbers, you ask? With an average annual income of $9,038, the vast majority of these women are thrown behind bars because they cannot afford the average $10,000 bail. For three-quarters of these women who are mothers and the primary caregivers in their households, a jail sentence is a more feasible fee to pay. Not to mention that 90% of the women currently incarcerated in the United States suffered severe physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Studies show that domestic violence plays a significant role in women’s pathway to prison as most women commit crimes to evade attacks and threats from their abusers (much like in the case of Cyntonia Brown). 

 illustrations by  James Steinberg  for Columbia University

illustrations by James Steinberg for Columbia University

This is not to say that there are not women behind bars who have committed heinous crimes; however, two-thirds of the women are behind bars for drug-related or non-violent offenses which speaks to the greater issue of poverty and inadequate social services. 

Though equally traumatic, women’s experience with incarceration is vastly different from that of men. The biggest difference can be seen in the visitor parking lots at these facilities. While men’s lots are filled with wives/girlfriends, children, and mothers, the women’s lots paint a different picture altogether. You tell me the last time you heard of a man waiting out his girl’s jail sentence.... I’ll wait! (no shade—straight facts). 

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For more information on women in prison, check out these reports by the Correctional Association of New York, the Women’s Prison Association and the Prison Policy Institute... and let’s talk about them!