Rhoda Coffin


Rhoda Coffin spent her life fighting for the rights of incarcerated women. Based in Richmond, Indiana, her charitable work began in the 1850s and she eventually became a leading figure in the prison reform movement. Because of her efforts, the Indiana Reformatory Institute for Women and Girls opened its doors in 1873 and it was the country’s first prison controlled by women. Her perspective on the need for women's rights and equality was shaped by her work with prison reform and she also supported equal pay and the right for a woman to "hold positions for which she was qualified" in the workplace.