Chandra Anderson's Jail Bed Art Highlights Basic Injustice Towards Incarcerated Women
You're a woman in an overcrowded, small room. It's either too hot or too cold. You have no personal space. You are treated with disrespect. No access to your loved ones—or to anyone when you're sent to solitary confinement. And when it's that time of the month—get creative—because you have to stop your own blood without adequate feminine hygiene products. Welcome to jail in the USA.
Women bleed 12 times per year, and the U.S. prison system doesn't seem to care about it. So activist Chandra Anderson decided to showcase her jail bed art installation at the heart of West Hollywood, on Melrose & Crescent Heights, right across from Fred Segal for everyone to get a glimpse of what jail for women looks like.
The morning before Christmas, Chandra's jail bed was on display along with 50 other jail beds made by other artists, whose works were showcased throughout L.A. County as a reminder of the thousands of people incarcerated in L.A. County jails.
For this #JailBedDrop, also featured in the LA Times, jail beds were placed in Inglewood, Compton, Palmdale, Lancaster, San Fernando Valley, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Baldwin Hills, Manhattan Beach, et al. Each artist illustrated unique troubles faced by the incarcerated, including mental illness and discrimination of People of Color, youth, LGBTQ, and more.
"Inmates make their own tampons," Chandra tells Beyond The Interview. "They rip apart strips from extra large pads and twist them between their fingers. Then they roll and wrap the fabric, tying it into a knot with enough extra fabric to pull from."
These items are not sanitized and are commonplace, she says. And her art project stands to highlight the most basic of needs for women within the injustice system.
For this project upon the bed, pulled pillow interiors flow into long dangling strips of white fabric. Some flow in the wind with no home. Others fall to the ground streaming toward the audience and morphing into hues of bright ruby red and garnet, emulating the monthly handmade items made by incarcerated women.
Although federal prisons are required to provide female inmates with a range of feminine hygiene products free of charge as of August 2017—according to the Bureau of Prisons—these changes have yet to be implemented.
In conjunction with Justice LA Now, Chandra, an LA native, is working towards the divestment of 3.5 billion dollars for the expansion of two new jails being built in California. Their mission is to reclaim, reimagine and reinvest what L.A. County could do with the money that has been allocated for the jails.
For the unveiling of Chandra's jail bed, Lyricist Element Rhymes performed his spoken word piece, entitled 88 Beds.
88 Beds – Lyrics by Element Rhymes
Where have we put our Queens
Is imprisonment neglecting for discipline
How do you Excel in a cell your sitting in with no help for health condition
This generation suffers from gentrification and incarceration in a population that's stuck in a matrix of manipulation thru economic mutation where our wages can not support our living situations enslaved like slaves on a plantation
Harvesting starvation not even able to buy food
Spending over 3 billion on jails instead of building new Schools
What about our education
And why do our women get neglected like Anne Frank in the basement
This is the truth now settle with it
The city of angels got devils in it
On a playing field that's not leveled with it so we had to bring a shovel with it
Go ask your city mayor if their mom didn't have a tampon would it be ok to rip a piece of a bed sheet put there as blood drips from her thighs would they even care
The insanity of not having sanitation
The social injustice should be on your social media before net neutrality slows
Your speed to non-existent
The consequences are devastating
The have nots take from the ones who have it
When you treat humans like a Savage expect to swallow back the poison that you handed
You came from the pussy then you underhanded then throw a temper tantrum when you can't have it
Imagine compassion if we had it and managed the passion then magic would just happen it's saddens the matter when these mattresses are added to a fraction of the madness in this lack of understanding so we have to be demanding and adamant when planning or a disasterly tragedy will be the reality we land in
Sleeping in a cell is like sleeping in hell when you innocent and can't make make bail
Dirty bunks and funny smells
Male to females with dirt under finger nails
What is this who are we and why do we suffer
Maybe instead of hate we are suppose to love one another