Prison Reporting and a Bald Double Standard

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Ally Fogg

Ally Fogg is a writer, journalist and community media organizer based in Manchester, UK. He writes extensively on male gender issues in The Guardian and elsewhere. His own gender blog is Heteronormative Patriarchy for Men.


  1. wellokaythen says:

    “When a father is jailed, it is likely that his children will remain in their own home with their mother.”

    Subtle wording here, but the language seems to assume it’s a nuclear family living together in a home, and the father goes off to jail like other dads go off to work, leaving the mother and child in “their home.” It assumes that a dad going to jail is leaving a situation where he was an equal parent and is leaving his children. In many cases that is no doubt true. But, a mother may not know or may not say who the father is. Don’t assume that the father is in all cases knowingly leaving a child behind.

    There’s another possibility you left out, which actually helps the original article: the father may be the father of children from multiple mothers, in which case it’s hard for him to be the primary caregiver for all of his kids.

    A man sent to prison is no more abandoning his children than a woman sent to prison, and no less. That I can agree with.

    • SpaceyWildstation says:

      Mr. Fogg, I just got out of prison after serving 7 years 11 months and 10 days. With regards to how I felt about “going off to prison leaving my family,” Here’s is an excerpt from my story, “Calendars by Space.”
      Remember about a month ago when you thought I was downstairs in the basement getting high and when I came up to get a chair, you followed me back down?
      As usual you were all hard in the face. That is, until you couldn’t figure out why your husband was standing on the chair. Now boy did the look on your face change when your eyes rested on the belt cinched around my neck. Your braided leather belt being nailed to the floor joists. One of the few times you were truly adorable. You weren’t hiding behind anger for once. For once you weren’t gritting on life in general, all torn up in the face over the littlest thing.
      Now, when I dropped that hammer and that chair groaned against the basement floor, you could have split into two, with one half running to catch me and the other half running upstairs to call emergency. You liked to have thrown me your hands.
      “TRACY!” you screamed
      After years of no support, no understanding of what it’s like singing, dancing and showing teeth and laughing at embarrassing jokes on a daily minstrel show called life in America this is what it comes to.
      Four letter word.
      God is merciful and the belt broke at the nail. I will not repeat what I yelled when I hit the cement with a length of leather belt hanging from my neck like some sick necktie.
      Trace didn’t say any of that. What he did say was:
      “Did you tell him I was on crack?”
      “I didn’t know what to tell him.”
      “Don’t trip. They’ll find out.”
      “Tracy I’m scared. He says it doesn’t look good.”
      Yeah it does. I’m free, Trace did not say.
      “It’s going to be alright Selina,” Trace said, “Jesus has a plan for my life and right now I feel closer to that plan than I ever have.”
      Selina’s voice went down to her lowest octave.
      “A what. That’s real good Trace. Sounds just like some cluck in jail on some Jesus hype. This is not about you for once. What am I going to do with two kids? You left us Tracy! And I’m not going to start yelling at work so goodbye.” The phone went Click, buzz; Trace hung up.

  2. Life Lessons says:

    Amen and thank you for writing this.

  3. wellokaythen says:

    In the category of “father may be dead,” let’s also bear in mind the real possibility that if she’s in prison for murder or manslaughter she’s there for killing the father.

  4. Thanks for this article. Very on point.

    Many apolitical people and feminists want to dismiss the idea of male oppression, but no matter how they bury their head in the sand it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

    Studies show there is a male disadvantage in sentencing nearly as bad as the black disadvantage in sentencing. Additionally, halfway houses, work ferloughs, non-custodial sentences (like mental health sentences) are almost exclusively reserved for women.

    When a man does something wrong, he’s evil. When a woman does something wrong, the excuses grow wings and fly everywhere.

    • I strongly suspect that this is linked to agency denial of women.

      The same force that causes them to not be promoted or paid equally, also causes them not to be incarcerated. We deny women’s agency so strongly that if she does something good, there is no need to reward, and if she does something bad, no need to punish. Fundamentally what she does does not matter.

      I would like to see some agency denial of male prisoners, a recognition that many are victims of child abuse, rape, addiction and that they will benefit from treatment, not incarceration.

  5. Women receive only half as long sentences as men for exactly the same crimes. It is one of the grossest forms of discrimination there is. It is female privillige to receive 50% sentencing discount. The discrimination in sentencing for being a man is a lot stronger than for being black. The most privlleged are, as always, white women:

Speak Your Mind