If you weren't aware this project was a critique of the prison system going in, you were readily made aware after Daniel's introduction and various interviews. In one particular interview with inmate Misty Rojo, she says, "You can always remember a point where somebody said, 'I need help' and they didn't get it," as she goes on to talk about her experiences getting busted as a kid. She explains that when she was younger and would get taken home by the police, they would question her why she didn't just "stay home and do what your parents tell you?" She would respond with claims that she was being emotionally abused - but that wasn't enough and she would get mocked and ignored.
Daniel's main critique is not only that we're relying on prisons to fix our society's issues that we refuse to deal with ourselves, it's also the unfair and demeaning treatment of the women in the prisons. Her editors note explains in detail the process that she goes through entering and exiting the prison and the process that the inmates go through after she's gone.
Miller claims that genre is a social action; Daniel's project clearly falls under the "genre" of a critique - but is it also a call to action? She's asking us to be aware of what's going on; it's like the virtual reality given to us by Bolter and Gruskin. We can go through our day in this virtual reality, pretending that society is well and that all the bad people are locked away and that we're doing our job. But eventually, like the person experiencing that reality, we're going to come face-to-face with something that's going to make us aware that we're completely wrong and that our prison and "justice" system is not doing what we think it is.
Rojo gives us the perfect example of this: she claims that her husband got locked up for beating her, a legitimate crime. But because she had a drug relapse that was discovered by the police, all the charges against her husband were dropped because, "I guess they thought I just wasn't worth protecting." How is this fair? How is this just? They decided that a completely unrelated crime made it okay for her husband to beat her - how can we force ourselves to ignore that? But even more disturbing, are we allowing ourselves to ignore that because she was a woman and therefore, it was more severe when she messed up? (But don't get me started on this subject because...well, this post will just get longer.)
Then she gives us Valerie Biedler's interview where she recalls an instance where she's at a court date watching a man and a woman get sentenced for the same crime. The woman had never been in trouble but the man had - and the judge gave her more time (five years versus sixteen months) to "teach her a lesson." She then later goes on to say that she thinks this is happening because society thinks that "women are more manageable." Have we all come to think that as a society?
I'll acknowledge that there may be some bias in this because it's a piece on women written by a woman; but is there really? Society has taught us that our place is second, that we are meant to be submissive, that it's our deed to be morally righteous and that if we're not perfectly suiting a man's needs, then we're not doing our jobs right.