Prison Reform Activist Evie Litwok and Psychiatrist Dr. Annette Hunt Join "Women in Prison: Eyewitness Accounts" on 4/21

Nora's Playhouse is tackling the important issue of women in mass incarceration and solitary confinement this Thursday, April 21 at 8pm.

The evening will begin with a reading of whatdoesfreemean?, a new play by award-winning playwright Catherine Filloux. Developed in collaboration with Nora's Playhouse and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, whatdoesfreemean? takes us into the cell and the mind of its central character, Mary, an African-American woman who is serving time for an undisclosed crime. whatfdoesfreemean? is directed by Amy S. Green and features Connie Winston, with Rebecca Lovett, Bobby Plasencia, Julissa Roman, and Myxolydia Tyler.

The reading will be followed by Women in Prison: Eyewitness Accounts, a panel discussion with formerly incarcerated prison reform activist Evie Litwok and correctional psychiatrist Dr. Annette Hanson, moderated by attorney Sheila Samuels.

The UN states that more than 15 days in solitary confinement amounts to torture, yet solitary confinement has become a control strategy of first resort in many prisons and jails. Women can be placed in complete isolation for months or years for using profanity, untreated mental illnesses, because they are children, gay or transgender, in need of 'protection', or because they reported rape or abuse by prison guards. While most attention paid to the issue of mass incarceration has focused on prisoners who are men, women bear the brunt of the consequences when they or the men in their lives are sent away. More than 205,000 women are incarcerated in America today.

Nora's Playhouse's reading and post-show discussion will take place on Thursday, April 21st at 8pm at the Black Box Theatre, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 West 59th Street, NYC. Tickets are available at the door for a suggested donation of $10.

Named for the heroine of Ibsen's A Doll's House, Nora's Playhouse is a theatre company devoted to telling women's stories through the collaboration of women theatre artists. Our women-centered mission addresses the fact that women are still under-represented as directors, playwrights, managers and technical staff for professional theatre, as well as the primary subject matter for scripts. Nora's Playhouse is interested in sharing a wide range of women's stories, and has a particular commitment to shedding light on women's human rights issues.

About Catherine Filloux: Author of more than 20 plays and opera libretti, including Selma '65 (still touring), Kidnap Road (in rehearsal), Lemkin's House; winner of the 2015 Planet Connections Activist Award; currently working on a commission for the Vienna State Opera, the libretto for composer Olga Neuwirth's Orlando.

About Amy S. Green: Author of two widely-produced testimonial dramas, Girlz in Blue, about female officers of the NYPD, and What Happened: The September 11th Testimony Project, first-person accounts of ground zero and its aftermath. Amy is the Associate Artistic Director of Nora's Playhouse and an Associate Professor of Theater and Interdisciplinary Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a Consortial Faculty Member in the Master of Arts in Applied Theater at the School of Professional Studies, both at the City University of New York.

About Connie Winston: Stage: Lemkin's House, On Griffin Alley, Hamlet (Alley Theatre), Having Our Say (Hangar Theatre), Combustion (Brooklyn Academy of Music), My Name is Harriett Tubman (Workshop Theatre), TV: Law and Order

About Annette Hanson, MD: Dr. Hanson is director of the forensic psychiatry fellowship at the University of Maryland. She has more than 20 years of experience as a correctional psychiatrist, and has cared for pretrial detainees and sentenced offenders at all levels of security. In addition to performing criminal and civil forensic evaluations, she writes regularly about issues related to correctional ethics and the rights of incarcerated patients. Dr. Hanson is a coauthor of Shrink Rap: Three Psychiatrists Explain Their Work.

About Evie Litwok: Formerly incarcerated prison reform activist Evie Litwok is the Director of Witness to Mass Incarceration, a project dedicated to memorializing America's 40-year history of mass incarceration; Director of Equality Justice Project, supporting incarcerated and formerly-incarcerated LGBTQ people; President of Ex-Offender Nation, advocating for those arrested, sentenced, incarcerated and re-entering the "real" world; and a member of the NYC Jail Action Committee, working to reform the practice of solitary confinement in the New York City Jails.

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