Massachusetts prisons control women inmates by administering psychotropic drugs intended to “’manage’ the problems caused by social and economic policies” that may have led to their incarceration, according to Suffolk University Sociology Professor Susan Sered, who writes about the issue in the article “Our prisons are drugging women.”

“In Massachusetts in 2012, 56 percent of women inmates were treated with psychotropic medication while in prison. (In comparison, only 17 percent of male inmates were treated with psychotropic medication.) … These drugs often function to restrict autonomy in much the same way as shackles and solitary confinement,” writes Sered.

Sered tells the story of a Massachusetts woman whose downward spiral began with her sadness about her sister’s death. She was fired from her waitressing job because she wasn't cheery with the customers, became homeless and was arrested by a police officer she had called upon to aid her when she was assaulted while out on the streets. She was incarcerated and put on medications that left her in a fog.

“When Elizabeth needed job security and affordable housing, what she received was a prison sentence and a cocktail of psychotropic medication,” writes Sered.

Full article on