The title of her book, Lock Me Up or Let Me Go, appears to complain about our collective ambivalence on this matter, but I don't see it as very difficult question at all. She tells of her struggle to prevent logging of old-growth forest in the Elaho Valley, and of her time in the Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women. Now, she has once again defied a court order, refusing to sign an undertaking not to go near logging trucks until the end of her trial. Elected government, according to Betty, is not doing a good enough job of balancing social, ecological and economic interests and therefore she refuses to obey it. She even refuses to obey courts that have ruled on the law's application to her specific case. Yet she must recognize that we would live in a state of anarchy if everyone could pick and choose which laws to respect; it is not even clear that the trees would be safer in such an environment. She should therefore be willing to accept the consequences of her actions. She should go to jail for contempt of court, and ten months seems a reasonable sentence for a repeat offender like Krawczyk.
With respect to her prison conditions,however, the issues are a bit murkier. Here is what she wrote in a letter to Solicitor General Rich Coleman, in 2003:
"When any women is incarcerated she has a human right to cleanliness. To clean bedding and a clean mattress, to clean clothes and to clean femine (sic) hygiene, to clean food and clean eating utensils, and a space to put her belongings. All of this becomes problematic if not impossible under the conditions of extreme over crowding that is now the norm at BCCW."
Let's see--is she saying that women who are incarcerated are treated differently from how men are treated? Or that they are not, but that they should be, because females need more closet space? Since her view of what ails the world is rooted in an analysis of "male violence", she should clarify--is she a liberal feminist demanding equal treatment (i.e. that men stop treating women like "animals"), or is she a radical feminist complaining that similar treatment (i.e. incarceration according to lower "animal" standards of males) is somehow unfair to the fairer sex?
I get the feeling that, if only life were more comfortable behind bars for women who engage in civil disobedience, Betty would be a happier person. Maybe it is actually her own ambivalence that she is complaining about.--MC