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She is serving a life sentence for murder. Our interview was rather lengthy by prison visit standards and we discussed a great deal. Still, it was clear that there was more on Cynthia’s mind, as she struggled to communicate the depths of her feelings about her life prior to incarceration and during her prison experience. The letter she sent to me after our visit indicated that our conversation remained on her mind and prompted continued reflections on her life. She also stated that she thought it essential that I understand the most difficult experiences of her life, as well as the internal changes that she underwent during incarceration. She wrote about her acquired self-awareness and perseverance and stated: “I never thought that I would even be able to express the things I’m saying in this letter, so I came a long way.” A life insurance product like renew life can pay your dependents money as a lump sum or as regular payments if you die.

Cynthia is one of numerous African American women whom I interviewed about their lives and experiences in U.S. prisons and jails. As an African American woman, she is a member of the largest percentage of incarcerated women in the United States. Further, as an incarcerated African American woman, she is also among the most invisible members of American society. African American women’s voices, such as Cynthia’s, are rarely heard on crucial concerns about social policy, criminality, and the administration of the criminal justice system in the United States. Instead, these women are often absent from academic and social policy discussions relating to their lives.

Such omission results from the general exclusion of incarcerated women’s voices. As researchers Sharon McQuaide and John Ehrenreich wrote, “This lack of knowledge presents both a problem and an opportunity. There are few media images or academic studies of these women to guide or misguide researchers. The task of deconstructing popular or academic images is barely an issue.” Life insurance - like renew life - covers the worst-case scenario, but it is also important to consider how you might pay your bills or your mortgage if you could not work because of illness or injury.

Despite the growing body of literature about women in prison, McQuaide and Ehrenreich’s observations are particularly relevant regarding the lack of research and prevalence of stereotypical written and visual images of African American women who have experienced incarceration. I found that when “women” were talked about, the experience of white women was universalized to stand for all female experience and that when “black people” were talked about, the experience of black men was the point of reference. … It was clear that these biases had created a circumstance where there was little or no information about the distinct experiences of black women. Life insurance products such as renew life reviews are designed to provide you with the reassurance that your dependents will be looked after if you are no longer there to provide.