NOVEMBER 13, 2013
Oklahoma Incarcerates More Women Than Any Country on Earth
Yousef Khanfar's portraits of some of them
Photographer Yousef Khanfar traveled to prisons throughout Oklahoma, which has the highest incarceration rate for women per capita in the world, photographing female prisoners—some alone, some with their visiting children. After the photo shoot, Khanfar asked each woman to write a few words of advice for younger generations, and documented their lives in the new book Invisible Eve (Rizzoli).
"I put men before anything. I thought they were my everything. Now I am in prison with nothing. Stop and think, what really is your everything?"
"Is there peace in your heart? Growing up and feeling alone, turning to drugs and men to fill that void. Never knew I'd be in a crowded prison so alone, and I never knew that peace was there in my heart all along."
"Do you want to live with fear or do you want to hold your loved ones near? There is nothing like leaving the ones you love most because you would rather have a shot of dope. Your kids' hopes, dreams, and lives were nothing to you, just a joke. Missing their first laugh, steps, words, looking at them from behind glass."
"Life is not about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself."
"The smile you see is rare, because I live with guilt daily. The time that is lost is gone forever, replaced with a hardened heart that comes from life experienced beyond razor wire fences."
"What a role model. What a mother. What a great example I was. It let my daughter to me. To her mother. In prison. What an example."
"In the beginning, alcohol is fun and games. But in the end it's nothing but pain; blackouts, violence, and jail. So think about how far you want to go before that first drink."
"When there seems to be no light at the end of your tunnel, reach out to someone you love and trust. Drugs have ruined my life. It's taken my kids, my family, and my love away. Scars, bruises, sorrows, I never want my kids to endure. Think of your choices you make in life, because you're not the only one who pays the price."