Cover image for The trials of Nina McCall : sex, surveillance, and the decades-long government plan to imprison "promiscuous" women
The trials of Nina McCall : sex, surveillance, and the decades-long government plan to imprison "promiscuous" women
Stern, Scott W., 1993- author.
Publication Information:
Boston, Massachusetts : Beacon Press, [2018]

Physical Description:
ix, 356 pages ; 24 cm
"In 1918, shortly after her eighteenth birthday, Nina McCall was told to report to the local health officer to be examined for sexually transmitted infections. Confused and humiliated, Nina did as she was told, and the health officer performed a hasty (and invasive) examination and quickly diagnosed her with gonorrhea. Though Nina insisted she could not possibly have an STI, she was coerced into committing herself to the Bay City Detention Hospital, a facility where she would spend almost three miserable months subjected to hard labor, exploitation, and painful injections of mercury. Nina McCall was one of many women unfairly imprisoned by the United States government throughout the twentieth century. Tens, probably hundreds, of thousands of women and girls were locked up (usually without due process) simply because officials suspected these women were prostitutes, carrying STDs, or just 'promiscuous.' This discriminatory program, dubbed the 'American Plan, ' lasted from the 1910s into the 1950s, implicating a number of luminaries, including Eleanor Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller Jr., Earl Warren, and even Eliot Ness, while laying the foundation for the modern system of women's prisons. In some places, vestiges of the Plan lingered into the 1960s and 1970s, and the laws that undergirded it remain on the books to this day. Scott Stern tells the story of this almost forgotten program through the life of Nina McCall"--Jacket.
Introduction : Young lady, do you mean to call me a liar? -- Willing to go to jail for such a cause -- Less fortunate sisters -- Waging war on the women -- Reaching the whole country -- It was too late -- Why should a woman be imprisoned for a disease? -- We will get even yet -- When righteous women arise -- Hunting for girls -- We defeat ourselves -- The situation seems to be getting worse -- A total war -- Venereal disease was not our concern.
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