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What My Daughter Learns of the Sea

Women in Las Calinas Detention and Reentry Facility

United States

by Brian Frank

Published September 2023

What My Daughter Learns of The Sea is a look behind the walls of the Las Colinas women’s jail in San Diego, CA.


Las Colinas’ approach to gender-specific incarceration is considered revolutionary, with its expansion of an honors program that allows women more freedoms inside its walls and access to a wide range of job training, in addition to physical and mental health programming.  


Trauma is the common denominator underlying the life experience of the vast majority of female inmates. More than half of female prisoners are survivors of physical or sexual violence with 73% of female state inmates and 61% of female federal inmates suffering mental health problems. Many of the honor programs at Las Calinas attempt to address these issues.  


However, in the criminal justice system in general, women are often ranked at a higher security level than necessary due to a classification system based on their male counterparts. Although Las Colinas is on the forefront of a gender-specific progressive response towards women’s incarceration, these dated classification systems, as well as staffing and budget constraints, keep most women at the jail under a more traditional type of lockdown, something that many at the prison, both inmates and staff, would like to change.



Brian Frank

A San Francisco native, Brian Frank has created social documentary projects across the Americas focusing on cultural identity, social inequality, violence, workers rights and the environment. A Professor of Journalism and Catchlight Global-Fellow, Frank has led visual storytelling workshops for professional educators and journalists across the USA and children and teens in the U.S. and Mexico and lectured on visuals-based curriculum at universities nationwide. His work has been recognized with numerous awards and featured in many publications.



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