An Eagle Eye Team special report

“These are debtors’ prisons,” said Lois Ahrens, director of the Real Cost of Prisons Project in Northampton. “The vast majority of women that are held are not dangerous, they are there because they’re poor. A woman who gets picked up for sex work — she doesn’t have $500 or she wouldn’t be on the street.”

Sending local women to a Chicopee jail solves a logistics problem for sheriffs from the Berkshires to Worcester. But having one jail in all of Western Massachusetts for women results in a system that treats women in custody differently than men.

Is it fair?

This is "Sent Away," The Eagle's Eye Team special report on how there are two paths through the criminal justice system, one for men, another for women, raising questions about whether women receive equal access to justice in Western Massachusetts.

Why Pittsfield jail opted to move women out

PITTSFIELD — When the new Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction opened in Pittsfield almost two decades ago, it included a women's section with 36 cells, along with 288 cells for …

Long-distance lockup | Out-of-county jail deepens women's woes After her arrest in Pittsfield, Tracey Santiago spent a night at the local jail. The next morning, unable to make $20,000 bail, Santiago was shackled and driven an hour to Chicopee.The van rolled up …
Berkshire lawyers say distance affects cases PITTSFIELD — Women held at the Western Massachusetts Regional Women's Correctional Center while awaiting trial in Berkshire County are at a disadvantage, Berkshire County defense attorneys …
Telephone lifeline from jail costly for family members CHICOPEE — Jennifer Thurston's family spends up to $50 a week on phone calls to stay in touch with her while she is in custody. It's a lot for a family struggling with poverty and poor …

Adams woman serving embezzlement sentence pinches pennies inside

Surgery set Jennifer Thurston on the path to the painkiller addiction that led her to steal from two employers, landing her in jail for embezzlement. Money is still a problem.Thurston, 46, described …

'The best jail'

CHICOPEE — "Love & Violence." "Understanding Trauma." "Dialectical Behavior Therapy."Workshops like these are on offer at the Western Massachusetts Regional Women's Correctional Center in …

Ankle monitors may help some Berkshire County prisoners return home early If it means returning sooner to her home and family, Jennifer Thurston would gladly wear "the bracelet" — an electronic monitoring device.That option is now possible for local women jailed …

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions