When most people think about incarceration, they typically imagine a place filled with men in orange jumpsuits. Though this does represent a large portion of the prison population, it ignores the fastest growing population: women, which has increased by 757% since 1977. With statistics like this you would think that women in the penal system would receive at least as much attention as men if not more so, however that is not the case. Women have been largely ignored as a population when it comes to services, protections, and reforms because they still make up a very small proportion of the overall population at a little less than 10%. Just because women do not represent a large portion of the penal system does not mean they do not need as much help and support as the male population. Groups like the Correctional Association of New York, with their Women in Prison Project (WIPP) understand this. They represent the voices of women in prison when others would ignore them and make their needs heard. We need more groups like these nation-wide in order to address prison problems specific to women.
Many groups surrounding female prison reform do most of their work by telling the stories of incarcerated women. While this is an important aspect to awareness raising and advocacy, it cannot be the only part. By going beyond storytelling and initiating and supporting specific initiatives, WIPP sets an example for other groups around the country. If more groups could mimic the progress made in New York, conditions in prisons all over the country could be fixed and a broader movement could form to bring change on the national level, not just the state level. There are many different spheres in the overall prison reform movement and groups like WIPP demonstrate the importance and potential influence that smaller groups can have on the entire effort.