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Life After Life in  Prison

The Bedroom Project

United States

By Sara Bennett

Published September 2023

For nine years, Sara Bennett photographed formerly incarcerated women in their bedrooms. All were convicted of serious crimes — mostly homicide — and spent 14 to 37 years in a maximum-security prison. By the time they came up for parole they were all profoundly changed, yet most of them were repeatedly denied release because of the crimes they had committed decades earlier

“These women were open and trusting enough to allow me into their most private spaces — their bedrooms — and to share the handwritten comments that accompany the photos. Like me, they hope this work will shed light on the pointlessness of extremely long sentences and arbitrary parole denials, and thus help their friends still in prison: women (and men) like them who deserve a chance at freedom.”

Sara Bennett

After 18 years as a public defender, Sara Bennett turned her attention to photographing women with life sentences, inside and outside prison. Her work has been widely exhibited in solo shows including at the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, OR, and in group shows, including the Blanton Museum of Art’s Day Jobs, and featured in publications such as The New York Times, Variety and Rolling Stone’s “American (In)Justice,” and others.

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