Protective Custody

Cheryl Hanna-Truscott spent over six years photographing women in the Washington Corrections Center’s prison nursery program, near Shelton, Wash. These women—most in their 20s and 30s—maintain custody of their children while completing sentences for crimes like auto theft and burglary. Hanna-Truscott sheds light on their unique circumstances in her intimate portrait series “Protective Custody.” Here we see a woman gazing in awe at her newborn son, his yellow blanket the only hint of color in the otherwise dreary room. In another frame, a mother pushes a stroller through the minimum security campus. Hanna-Truscott explains that her biggest concern was for her subjects to trust her. “These women are often incredibly vulnerable,” she says. “They’re willing to share their stories, but … the last thing they want is to have someone come in and give their situation a sensational spin like ‘Babies Behind Bars!.’” Hanna-Truscott deals tenderly with both mothers and children, focusing on maternal bonds, not the felonies behind them. Her work is part of the PCNW Thesis Exhibition, featuring six other artists in the program. (Opening reception: 6-8 p.m. Fri., June 12.) ERIKA HOBART

June 1-July 10, 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri., June 12, 6-8 p.m., 2009

 
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