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Women Behind Bars

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Inmate Crystal French, 38, left, is comforted by cellmate Krystle Sweat, 32, at the Campbell County Jail in Jacksboro, Tenn., on March 30, after French was denied parole the previous day. She won't be eligible again for another year. "I got to know the real me again instead of the addicted-to-drugs person. I'd like to be a productive citizen, not an OD statistic, end up dying on drugs," said French, whose two sons are being raised by her ex-husband. "I am a good person. I know I am. But I want to see that person again."

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Names are etched in a metal table as inmates play cards in the Campbell County Jail in Jacksboro, Tenn. Inmates are confined to dormitory-like cells 23 hours a day, where they watch TV, play endless games of cards or pace in silent frustration, counting the days until their release.

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Tammy Perry, 53, walks down a street in LaFollette, Tenn., where she is currently staying with an older man after getting out of jail. Perry still struggles with drug addiction and says she exchanges sex for drugs or money to support her addiction. Her daughter also struggles with addiction and both have been in jail at the same time.

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    A correctional officer searches a cell on suspicion that meth was sneaked into the Campbell County Jail. Many of the inmates are addicts. Of the charges landing women in the county jail, 85-to-90 percent are drug-related. The women receive no counseling. Then weeks, months or years later, they're released into the same community where friends — and in some cases, family — are using drugs. Soon they are again, too.

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Samantha Marlow brushes her teeth in a distorted metal mirror in her cell at the Campbell County Jail. Medical costs for both male and female inmates have nearly doubled since 2015, to top $1 million in 2017, according to county officials. Hepatitis, infections and dental problems are among the medical issues inmates have encountered.

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Linda Green, 51, who has struggled with drug addiction, cries as she's booked into the Campbell County Jail after being arrested on charges of public intoxication, a parole violation, in Jacksboro, Tenn. Women in jail are the fastest-growing correctional population in America. Between 1980 and 2009, the arrest rate for drug possession or use tripled for women, while it doubled for men. Opioid abuse has exacerbated the problem.

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Linda Green is arrested on charges of assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct as police attempted to apprehend her son, who was wanted for an outstanding warrant in LaFollette, Tenn. Green, who has struggled with drug addiction, has been arrested more than 50 times in Campbell County. The opioid crisis is putting more women behind bars across the U.S. — tearing apart families and squeezing communities that lack treatment programs and permanent solutions. In this jail, many female inmates have long-term addiction problems.

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Inmate Mary Sammons, 41, foreground, is comforted in the Campbell County Jail by cellmate Blanche Ball, 30, days after Sammons learned that her 20-year-old son was murdered in Kentucky. Sammons, who was arrested on drug-related charges, suspects her son's murder was drug-related. "I always pictured my kids burying me, not me having to bury my children. Young kids are losing their life over bad dope. This is crazy. It's so not worth it. He was a pretty boy. He was beautiful."

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Inmate Krystle Sweat blows a kiss to her son Robby, 10, during a video conference at the Campbell County Jail in Jacksboro, Tenn. There are no face-to-face visits other than exceptional circumstances. Robby hasn't hugged or even touched his mother since Christmas Day 2015, just before Sweat wound up back behind bars. He says that on the day she's released, he wants to show her how he can ride no-hands on his bike. Sweat laughs but knows their reunion must wait.

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Tammy Perry, 53, walks through the street in LaFollette, Tenn., where she is currently staying with an older man after getting out of jail in April. Perry says she exchanges sex for money or drugs to support her addiction. "I'm scared of a new start," said Perry when asked if she ever thought about leaving the county where she grew up to start over in different surroundings. "I'm scared of failing. I'm scared of feeling worse than what I was."

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Inmate Tara White, 28, second from left, reacts to hearing her cousin was arrested as she watches the local news in her cell at the Campbell County Jail. Every evening around dinnertime, inmates gather around a small television mounted high on the wall to listen to the police log and obituary notices. It's often the main source for inmates to find out if anyone they know has been arrested or died from an overdose.

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    Robby Wilson, 10, plays basketball with his grandparents Cathy, right and Eddy Sweat, who have custody of him. Their daughter, Robby's mother, Krystle Sweat, sits in jail a mile away. The Sweats have raised Krystle's son since he was about 3. Over the years, they've paid her rent, bought her cars, and invited her and her boyfriend to share their home. She wound up stealing tools, a computer and camera — anything she could pawn.

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    From left, cellmates Elsie Kniffen, 39, Mary Sammons, 41, Blanche Ball, 30 and Sarai Keelean, 35, join hands after a prayer in the Campbell County Jail in Jacksboro, Tenn. Many of the women say jail should help prepare them for life outside, maybe with a Narcotics Anonymous group, counseling or education programs such as those offered in state prisons. Lt. Mallory Campbell, assistant jail administrator says she'd like to offer college courses or vocational training because "if they don't leave here with a skill, they're going to go back to what they know." But there isn't money for programs or staff.

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    Women Behind Bars - Associated Press/David Goldman | of | Share this photo

    Linda Green, 51, cries in her home while awaiting trial after her latest arrest on charges of public intoxication in LaFollette, Tenn. "I've had a hard life. I'm on the edge. I feel like I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. ... Sometimes I want to go back on drugs just to numb the pain," she says. Green has been arrested more than 50 times in Campbell County on a range of charges from drug possession to theft.

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