Zonta Club of Pori I starts conversation on women, crime and punishment on International Women's Day

In celebration of International Women's Day and Rose Day, the Zonta Club of Pori I, Finland, held a special public event to discuss women, crime and punishment in Finland with Kaisa Tammi. Kaisa is a long-time prison director who has done significant work developing Finnish female prisoners' functions, safety, conditions and network work. She is currently a director at the Hämeenlinna Prison and Probation Center, responsible for the National Women's Special Work of the Prison and Probation Service of Finland.

Last fall, Kaisa published an autobiographical book, The Boss of Women's Prison, where she talks about growing up in a rough neighborhood to becoming a prisoner director.

Although the number of incarcerated women is low in Finland, the club felt explaining why women go to prison is important because a lot had to happen. Many women in prison have been victims of childhood abuse and sexual violence, often at the hands of loved ones. The consequences of these mistreatments often lead to the loss of one's boundaries or self-respect. Kaisa explains that in prison, suicidality, eating disorders, addictions and avoidance are considered women's symptoms. Many incarcerated women need empowerment, emotional regulation and security. Kaisa admits that prison is not an effective problem-solving tool. However, sometimes prison is the rock bottom needed to set change in motion, with the thinking, "you can survive even the worst situation, but not without support."