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Breaking the Walls of Silence: AIDS and Women in a New York State Maximum Security Prison

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The statistics are staggering: 20 percent of all women coming into the New York State prison system either have AIDS or are HIV positive. In response to this very real scenario, a group of inmates at the women's prison at Bedford Hills, New York, conceived of the A.C.E. (AIDS Counseling and Education) Program, and against overwhelming odds made this groundbreaking project The statistics are staggering: 20 percent of all women coming into the New York State prison system either have AIDS or are HIV positive. In response to this very real scenario, a group of inmates at the women's prison at Bedford Hills, New York, conceived of the A.C.E. (AIDS Counseling and Education) Program, and against overwhelming odds made this groundbreaking project a reality. Breaking the Walls of Silence documents the A.C.E. Program from its beginnings, recorded in the women's own voices, and it provides a series of nine education and counseling workshops that any community, family, or individual can use to break the silence that surrounds this deadly disease."There is much to learn from their stories which document important aspects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic". -- Mathilde Krim, Ph.D., Founding Co-Chair and Chairman of the Board, AmFAR


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The statistics are staggering: 20 percent of all women coming into the New York State prison system either have AIDS or are HIV positive. In response to this very real scenario, a group of inmates at the women's prison at Bedford Hills, New York, conceived of the A.C.E. (AIDS Counseling and Education) Program, and against overwhelming odds made this groundbreaking project The statistics are staggering: 20 percent of all women coming into the New York State prison system either have AIDS or are HIV positive. In response to this very real scenario, a group of inmates at the women's prison at Bedford Hills, New York, conceived of the A.C.E. (AIDS Counseling and Education) Program, and against overwhelming odds made this groundbreaking project a reality. Breaking the Walls of Silence documents the A.C.E. Program from its beginnings, recorded in the women's own voices, and it provides a series of nine education and counseling workshops that any community, family, or individual can use to break the silence that surrounds this deadly disease."There is much to learn from their stories which document important aspects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic". -- Mathilde Krim, Ph.D., Founding Co-Chair and Chairman of the Board, AmFAR

31 review for Breaking the Walls of Silence: AIDS and Women in a New York State Maximum Security Prison

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bek MoonyReadsByStarlight

    This was a really important view into how the AIDS epidemic impacted a group of constantly overlooked people. This book outlined what they had to go through to get this group together and what the group was able to do for people as individuals. While some chapters do have a section of text explanation, most of the book is comprised of testimonies, experiences, and even poetry from women who were a part of the ACE program. The end covers the workshops that they did, including information about AI This was a really important view into how the AIDS epidemic impacted a group of constantly overlooked people. This book outlined what they had to go through to get this group together and what the group was able to do for people as individuals. While some chapters do have a section of text explanation, most of the book is comprised of testimonies, experiences, and even poetry from women who were a part of the ACE program. The end covers the workshops that they did, including information about AIDS that they had at the time and activities for workshops, but they also included some responses that people had given in past workshops, giving us another window into these women's experiences. This book really paints a picture of stigma and life with AIDS in prison at the time and the issues that these women faced outside of it through these snapshots of experience. But it also shows the importance of community support and resilience that shines through when people are given the proper resources -- which is particularly huge since in most aspects of life, many of these women weren't given the support they need. Something that really struck me is how much the creators of ACE had to work to get this program. Eventually people from the outside could come help them and they reached out to new inmates, but at first the people in charge of the prison were resistant. These women did such incredible work, but they shouldn't have had to. Most of these women were at the intersection of AIDS, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, racism, poverty, and often other sorts of violence and misogyny. These women should have been given resources in prison certainly -- but they should have been given them way before. So much of their experience handling AIDS is similar to what I have read of other groups -- having to come together for social support, solidarity between PWAs and people who are negative, having to go out of their way to help treat and care for their own. But they had to do it all while navigating the time constraints, lack of personal support, and so much more that comes from being in prison. On a technical level, I'm sure I could pick out some issues. And I would love to see a discussion that brings the experiences together more -- and discussion of prisons and AIDS looking at the system, but I'm sure I can find that elsewhere (and I'm sure there would have been much more barriers to publishing that sort of book from prison). I am so glad that they were able to put this together. There is so much work and organizing that goes unrecognized, so having this documented is really incredible.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  3. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

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    Zach

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    Victoria Law

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    Gillian Graham

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    Courtney

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    J. Rogue

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    Caty

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    Mirza Sultan-Galiev

  11. 5 out of 5

    m.bryan.welton

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

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    Jason

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    Michaela

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    Jackie Ramos

  16. 4 out of 5

    Calle Caí 楷

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maysalon

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shady Grove Oliver

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Esmail

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

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    Alex

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    Carolina

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    Alexis

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    Micaela

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    Efi

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    Heather

  27. 4 out of 5

    C

  28. 5 out of 5

    enoughtohold

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shilpa Gohil

  30. 5 out of 5

    honeybean

  31. 4 out of 5

    Leeor

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