Outside the Wall: A Puerto Rican Woman's Struggle

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9780813519876: Outside the Wall: A Puerto Rican Woman's Struggle

“Each time I have taken on a different battle, the more confident I get about gaining more power and liberation. They can’t no longer control me!”--Lourdes Santiago

Lourdes Santiago is married to a man who is serving a seventy-year prison term for allegedly killing a rival gang member. For more than half of her life, Lourdes  has devoted her energy to aiding her husband and fighting for prison reform. Her endless battles on behalf of her husband, other prisoners’ families, and her neighborhood have transformed Lourdes.  Although she remains deeply faithful to her Puerto Rican community in Chicago, to her religion, and to her marriage,  she has also shed many of the traditional roles of Latina women. Her husband’s imprisonment has allowed Lourdes to liberate herself.

Now we hear Lourdes Santiago’s story in her own voice, thanks to Felix Padilla who interviewed her over the course of two years and sensitively wove her words together into this book. We share her anger at the injustices she sees in the penal system--from the ‘shake-down’ pats on visitors' days to the secret transfer of her husband to a prison halfway across the country in retaliation for Lourdes’s advocacy of prison reform. We see how her protests give her new strength. She is determined to pass on a heritage of resistance to the next generation of young people, to enable them to escape the drugs and gangs that overshadowed her own youth and led to her husband’s incarceration. 

Lourdes Santiago and Felix Padilla give us an unparalleled look at the effects of the penal system on the hundreds of thousands of men and women in prison and on their families outside the wall. Compelling reading for anyone interested in the lives of women in contemporary America, in criminal justice, and in Hispanic culture.


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From Library Journal:

Santiago grew up, married, and lives in a once-safe working-class Chicago neighborhood to which, she believes, her generation brought gangs. Marrying a gang leader at 15 to escape her strict mother, she rationalizes: her mother beat her, but she's really a good person; her husband used/dealt drugs, but he wasn't a junkie; prison guards harass women visitors but the search is necessary, etc. Using a "life history" approach, sociologist Padilla relies on interviews that were taped over the course of two years to convey a Puerto Rican woman of color whose life story is tied to her spouse's incarceration. Though Santiago has much in common with many women, for whom her self-analysis is relevant, some readers may question Padilla's perception of feminism. In addition, the rush to transcribe, edit, and get this work into print is evident. The book has a potential in some psychology and sociology classes.
- Helen Rippier Wheeler, formerly with Univ. of California SLIS, Berkeley
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Padilla, Professor Felix
Published by Rutgers University Press (1993)
ISBN 10: 081351987X ISBN 13: 9780813519876
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Rutgers University Press, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11081351987X

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