Guantanamo Sept 11 Trial

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An hour-long ABC News special program that will air Friday, Feb. 27 on “20/20” at 10pm EST, will turn the spotlight on the lives of women in prisons, including some at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup. The AFRO will host a live-tweet event of the episode.

The program is titled, “A Nation of Women Behind Bars” and will be hosted by journalist Diane Sawyer.

During the program, Alfreda Robinson-Dawkins, founder of the Baltimore based non-profit organization National Women’s Prison Project, will Tweet her observations over the @AFRONewsLive with AFRO reporter Lisa Snowden-McCray.

Robinson-Dawkins’ program helps meet the needs of woman who are behind bars or have been recently released by providing them with things like therapy and job training. She said that it has been a difficult journey educating policy makers about how to best serve the needs of female prisoners

“The issues that affect women are different than those that affect men,” she said.

She said that treatment for some issues that can lead to incarceration – drug use for example – tend to focus only on men. However, women may need very different approaches. “If you look at the focus of addiction and the way women use drugs, you can have a better outcome.”

She said that the fact that this issue is making headlines is a good thing. “It makes me feel really good. I hope it’s not because of ‘Orange is the New Black,’ and it’s not just a trend.”

This is Sawyer’s third special on the subject of women in prisons. ABC News reports that women are the fastest growing group of prisoners in the country compared to men.

Follow along online by following the AFRO’s twitter handle, @AFRONewsLive