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On Hold in Holding
Women in Jail


On Hold In Holding
produced by Georgia Jones

Listen to Audio ShowsTime to change Interviewed by Nina Olsen.

In a Material World
Debra Vargas interviews an inmate who had all of the toys...
Listen to Audio ShowsMaterial World —Part 1 of 3

Listen to Audio ShowsMaterial World —Part 2 of 3

Listen to Audio ShowsMaterial World —Part 3 of 3

Hopes of finally getting clean
Debra Vargas interviews a 47 year old inmate who has been in and out of jails, prisons, programs, since she was 17.
Listen to Audio ShowsHopes of finally getting clean —Part 1 of 2

Listen to Audio ShowsHopes of finally getting clean —Part 2 of 2

Arrested at 17, she is in again at 19. Interviewed by Mimi Glumac.
Listen to Audio ShowsIn again at 19 —Part 1 of 2

Listen to Audio ShowsIn again at 19 —Part 2 of 2


About "On Hold In Holding":

In 1999 LadybugPress was approached by a lecturer at San Francisco State University about the possibility of our publishing a book about women's experiences in a jail setting. It was exactly the sort of project we are always interested in: Giving a voice to those who don't get heard, especially women.

After a number of conferences, we put together a team and decided on an approach—team members interviewing women at the San Francisco jail based on a series of topics and questions we had developed with the team leader, and author of this project, Michelle Patterson, J.D., Ph.D.

Team Members were:
Michelle Patterson, J.D., Ph.D.
Deborah Vargas, Student Researcher
Mimi Glumac, Student Researcher
Nina Olsen, Student Researcher

The interviews were made possible thanks to the SISTER Program (see below) at the San Francisco Jail and special thanks are in order for Sandra Schwartz, Program Administrator; Ramona Massey, CJ#8 Program Coordinator; Muin Daly, Prisoner Legal Services coordinator; and Bianca Ramirez, Victim Restoration Coordinator Resolve to Stop the Violence Project.

Inmates in these interviews are anonymous—Some chose a name to use for the interview; some did not. The first questions you will hear are background. After that, the questions focus on her life and hopes. Each interviewer has a slightly different style and each inmate we interviewed has a distinctive voice, though you will find disturbing similarities in their stories. The interviews were conducted inside the jail, using portable equipment, so please be patient with background noise and occasional shifts in the recording quality.

The SISTER Program (Sisters In Sober Treatment Empowered In Recovery) is an inmate program of the San Francisco County Jail. The program is designed to embrace "all facets of a client's life" and to "reduce the impact of substance abuse and its associated social problems, through direct intervention."

"SISTER is a voluntary program providing services to incarcerated women in San Francisco County Jail No.8, in a dormitory style therapeutic community setting. SISTER clients have either been sentenced or are awaiting criminal proceedings. It is a collaborative effort of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department and Walden House, a substance abuse treatment program. Acupuncture services are provided by Acupuncture Recovery and Treatment Services (ARTS)."

Jails are a short term incarceration institution and are designed for inmates whose sentence is six months or less or who are being held prior to hearing or sentencing. Like most jails, the San Francisco jail facility is stressed, but the area where SISTERS inmates are held is one of the newer wings and is an open, two story facility designed around a hub. Though this is referred to as a "dormitory" there is no mistaking it for anything other than a jail.

Our team of interviewers was allowed to meet with SISTER inmates in a general meeting to describe the project and ask for volunteer participants. The response was enthusiastic so interviewers met with individual inmates to select those who would participate. The criteria for participation was fluid: Each interviewer made recommendations based on her own interaction with the inmate rather than on any demographic description of an ideal candidate. Interviews took place over several weeks, within the area of County Jail #8.

LadybugPress is grateful to the SISTER program and the San Francisco County Jail and Sheriff's Department for their cooperation and the access we were allowed, and to our volunteer interviewers from San Francisco State University.

LadybugLive Radio for women

About Our Host

    This program is only available in archive, but interviews may be added occassionally. So, watch this space!

    Ada Aharoni

Ada Aharoni is an Israeli writer, poet and lecturer, whose works have won her international acclaim. She writes in English and Hebrew and has published twenty two books to date that have been translated into several languages. She believes that literature and culture can help in healing the urgent ailments of our global village, such as war and conflict, and the themes of peace and conflict resolution are major ones throughout her work.


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Technical production and audio by NewVoices, audio/video production for the Internet ia-c


Your host for "A Closer Look":

Georgia Jones has been an active journalist and was regularly published in local Washington DC publications, such as the DC Gazette, and in feminist publications such as oob- A Woman's News Journal between 1968 and 1980. The scope of this work included short stories, feature articles, science, self help, and articles and reviews of the arts. She interviewed well known political and feminist figures of the day, including Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and Betty Friedan. Her article documenting the first person experiences of women using the Dalcon Shield and Copper 7 IUD's was one of the earliest on this important subject, and was adapted for broadcast by WAER Radio in Syracuse, New York.

From 1994-1997 Jones authored a weekly Internet column for Women's Wire® (later Women's Wire® on CompuServe®). In 1992 two of her plays, "A Stitch in Time" and "The Usual Suspects" (retitled "Dying for Prime Time" and currently availabel at, were produced for radio through Shoestring Radio Theatre, distributed nationally to NPR affiliates through Radio Works and Audio Services for the Blind. Prior to that production, "A Stitch in Time" and a musical, "The Porters", which she wrote with composer, Lewis MacAllister were produced by local amateur stage companies.

In 1995 Jones' novel In Line at the Lost and Found placed in the National Association of Writers novel awards. That same book was commented on by Push Cart Prize nominee Eva Shaderowfsky: "I love the way you keep this whole thing on the edge of madness. Well done! . .I smile as I read on breathlessly. . .It's black humor at its best!"

Georgia Jones is author of A Garden of Weedin', a collection of original poetry, art and essays, and is editor and contributor to Women on a Wire, vol.1 & 2. Her poetry has been compared to that of Alanis Morrisette

Jones' published work includes the novel In Line at the Lost and Found and the non-fiction book The Real Dirt on the American Dream: Home Ownership and Democracy under the pseudonym Adrianna Long. She has authored a book on writing, Write What You Know, based on writing workshops she has developed and led since 1995. Write What You Know was described by one reviewer as "a book that can be used and enjoyed by the new writer looking for guidance, or is a book for the seasoned pro in search of a fresh outlook." Her interview with Beat Poet and artist, Elizabeth Case, was a featured story for the Winter 1998-99 issue of Crone Chronicles magazine.

She is the editor and a regular contributor to

Georgia Jones has led writing workshops in such diverse area and contexts as a peace conference in Israel and a retreat in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.