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Butler writes with conviction, her passion for her subject occasionally leading her to press her point further than the evidence will go. Several times she seems to claim that women prisoners were representative of all women confronting the criminal justice system, writing, for example, "when a child died from a mother's assault, conviction was a certainty." But this claim can only be tested by examining local police and court records to see if all women accused were convicted (they weren't). Women in penitentiaries were not representative; they were the absolute losers in a system that was, admittedly, stacked against them. The power of Butler's book is that it clearly shows the enormity of what they lost.


Published in Great Plains Quarterly 19:4 (Fall 1999). Copyright © 1999 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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