Barbara Owen is an international expert in the areas of women and imprison-ment. Most recently, her work in SE Asia centers on implemtation of the Bangkok Rules and other human rights protections for imprisoned women. A Professor Emerita of Criminology at California State University, Fresno, she received her Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Berkley in 1984. Prior to returning to academia, Dr. Owen was a Senior Researcher with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Along with Barbara Bloom and Stephanie Covington, she co-authored the policy initiative, Gender-Responsive Strategies: Research, Practice, and Guiding Principles for Women Offenders (National Institute of Corrections, 2003). She also serves as a Senior Advisor to the Thailand Institute of Justice and on the Advisory Board of the Safe Alternatives to Segregation II initiative with the Vera Institute of Jus-tice. 

Dr. Owen currently volunteers with Friends of the Elephant Seals in San Simeon and is working toward illustrating her interviews with women serving life terms. 

Barbara told us that there are 200,000 men in State prison but only $12,000 women. And, women are sentenced to State prison for crimes such as shoplifting (3-5 yrs) and marijuana (5-7 yrs). Men are sentenced to State prison for much more serious crimes and almost never for crimes like shoplifting and marijuana.