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戴着脚镣参加葬礼:狱中生涯和重获自由的感觉

更新时间:2016-7-16 11:09:06 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How Newfound Freedom Feels
戴着脚镣参加葬礼:狱中生涯和重获自由的感觉

Before she became a photographer, Sara Bennett was a public defender, so she thought she knew something about life in prison. But as she followed four women in their transition back to freedom in New York City, she realized she had a lot to learn. The women were all convicted of murder and served between 17 and 35 years, mainly at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County. “I didn’t know that if a loved one dies, you’re allowed to go to the funeral but you’re shackled,” Ms. Bennett said. “I didn’t know what it meant to be ill and grow old in prison.”

成为摄影师之前,萨拉·贝内特(Sara Bennett)曾是一名公设辩护律师,因此她觉得自己对于监狱里的生活多少有些了解。但当她开始跟拍四位女性,和她们在纽约市重新融入社会的过程后,她才意识到自己所知甚少。这些女性都曾被判定犯有谋杀罪,主要在威彻斯特县的贝德福德山惩教设施(Bedford Hills Correctional Facility)服刑,时间从17到35年都有。“我以前不知道,如果家人或者爱人去世,你可以去参加葬礼,但必须戴脚镣。” 贝内特说,“我以前不知道在监狱中生病或者老去意味着什么。”

Ms. Bennett, 60, stopped practicing law full time more than a decade ago, and turned to photography. She accompanied the recently released women — Carol, Evelyn, Keila and Tracy, whose last names Ms. Bennett agreed not to reveal — as they found jobs and housing and reunited with family. She watched as they explored their new freedom and dealt with the lingering restrictions on it, from mandatory drug tests to curfews.

贝内特今年60岁,10多年前不再全职从事法律工作,转向摄影。她陪同着这些近期被释放的女性:卡罗尔(Carol),伊夫林(Evelyn),凯拉(Keila)和特雷西(Tracy)——贝内特同意不透露她们的姓氏。贝内特看着她们寻找工作和住处,与家人团聚,看着她们探索重新获得的自由,适应仍然存在的限制,从强制性毒品检测到宵禁要求。

Despite these prohibitions, the women relished the little things. “Carol basically lives on one block,” Ms. Bennett said. “She says: ‘This is great. No one is coming in and out. I can lock my door.’ ” Or as Tracy put it to her, “There are no bathtubs in prison.”

尽管有众多限制,她们还是在新生活的细节中找到了乐趣。“卡罗尔基本就在一个街区内活动,”贝内特说,“她说:‘这特别好。没有人进进出出。我可以锁门。’或者就像特雷西对她说的那样,“监狱里没有浴缸。”

Ms. Bennett said she hoped the series, compiled in the self-published book “Life After Life in Prison,” would prompt a re-examination of the criminal justice system, which repeatedly denied these women parole, though they had learned trades, earned degrees and had good disciplinary records in prison. “I was very specific about focusing on women convicted of murder,” she said. “I focused on people facing life sentences for violent crimes they committed a long time ago. I think that’s where we really need to focus our attention, because it’s a humanitarian issue; that’s who gets old in prison,” she added. “And they’re the ones least likely to commit crimes when they get out.”

贝内特将作品汇编成册,自费出版了《铁窗生涯之后的生活》(Life After Life in Prison)一书。她希望这个系列能够促使人们重新审视刑事司法体系。这一体系中,女性往往很难获得保释,即便她们学会了手艺,获得了学位,并且在狱中表现良好。“我非常强调要专门关注被判谋杀罪的女性这一群体,”贝内特说,“我专注于面临无期徒刑的人,他们距离当初犯下暴力罪行已经有很长时间了。我认为这是我们最需要关注的地方,因为这是一个人道主义问题;是这些人在监狱里生活然后老去。”她补充道。“并且他们在出狱后重新犯罪的可能性是最低的。”

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