Women

JS Blog Post July 15, 2014

FREE HER Rally

Patricia Allard

On Saturday, June 21, 2014, the Families for Justice as Healing (http://justiceashealing.org) held a historic gathering, FREE HER Rally, on the Mall in Washington, D.C. The FREE HER rally and campaign was organized by women and others who support the ending of mass incarceration. The goals of the Free Her Rally were to "(1) raise awareness of the increase in the rate of incarceration of women in the United States and the impact on our children and communities, (2) Demand an end to voter disenfranchisement for people with felony convictions and (3) to ask President Obama to commute the sentences of women and men in the federal system who have applied for commutation." (http://justiceashealing.org/free-her-...)

Andrea James, the force behind Families for Justice as Healing and the organizer extraordinaire behind the Free Her Rally, closed the rally with a powerful call to action, asking participants to keep advocating for sentencing reform for parents who have minor children on the outside. Watch James' call to action.

JS Blog Post June 15, 2014

The Spark of Resistance Ignited

Tina Reynolds

Prior to my incarceration, I never thought of becoming an advocate.  I was subsumed by old emotions that prohibited me from taking action.  My inability to assert myself stemmed from a fear of what the repercussion might be from those in power. This fear kept me in my place, making myself as small and unnoticeable as possible.  This was my experience until my last bid (prison term).  I carried remnants of being small and in my place with me throughout my relationships - with my family who had assisted me with my children and with the various systems with which I had to interface.  While in prison even though I knew and had been told that what I was experiencing was wrong, I knew I wasn’t the only one experiencing this, and so, I relied on other women who I viewed as stronger than me to act.  Read more »

JS Blog Post May 29, 2014

Organize, Resist, and End shackling of pregnant women

Tina Reynolds

Beside raising my family and pursuing a career, changing policy is one of the greatest challenges I have pursued in the last twenty years as a formerly incarcerated mother.  Although it has been almost twenty years since I was shackled and handcuffed during transport to the hospital and during labor before giving birth to my son, Kai, the anti-shackling organizing efforts here in New York were by far the most rewarding for me. The reality of shackling incarcerated women during labor continues to baffle me.    Thankfully some headway has been made to end this oppressive and dehumanizing policy with approximately twenty states enforcing laws that prohibit some form of shackling of incarcerated pregnant women in the United States.  Yet, reproductive justice rights are practically nonexistent for incarcerated women in this country.  Ending shackling is the low hanging fruit policy effort to begin a conversation about reproductive justice rights for incarcerated women. Read more »

JS Blog Post May 20, 2014

Twenty Years After: Forgiveness

Tina Reynolds

To all of my fellow GEMS, this submission is for you.  Being a “good enough mom” (GEM) takes the pressures off of having to get everything right.  When I came home from prison, I was on a quest to gain some semblance of “normalcy” – find a job and make a home for me and my children. To accomplish this, I didn’t search within myself. I sought external activities; I became involved with various groups, community organizations, churches and colleges.

While on my “normalcy” quest, I became friends with a wonderful woman, Mildred. She got to know me quickly and could see that I struggled with trusting others, feeling safe and maintaining a sense of hope.  Mildred wisely told me that these characteristics did not come from my experience in prison, but rather they are deeply rooted in my past life experiences. Therefore, on my quest for “normalcy” after prison, along with my involvement in advocacy efforts, I began to unearth, understand and heal from my childhood trauma. Read more »

JS Blog Post May 9, 2014

Twenty Years After Prison - A Mother’s Thoughts

Tina Reynolds

In 1995, my youngest son and I walked out of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. What I know from the experience of raising my son in prison during the first year of his life is that he never knew he was in prison.  He never knew his mother had to stand for count, wear green every day, wear state shoes, ask for toilet paper or sanitary napkins, or to never be called by her first name.  He never knew that his mother had to suffer oppression, listen to relentless humiliations, or be treated without dignity by prison staff.   He never knew he lived in a building with other mothers who were incarcerated.  He never knew he lived in a nursery behind bars.  However, what I am sure of is my son knew he was loved. Read more »

Children of Incarcerated Parents: In the News

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International

Hard Hit: The Growth in the Imprisonment of Women, 1977-2004

Hard Hit

Women's prison population up 757 percent since 1977; women particularly sensitive to overall prison population growth trends.

Women are the fastest-growing segment of the prison population, surpassing male prison population growth in all 50 states and climbing 757 percent between 1977 and 2004. The majority of women in U.S. prison systems are incarcerated for nonviolent drug and property offenses. Many suffer from chemical dependency, mental illness or both. Read more »

News Article The Associated Press May 21, 2006

Mountain States Imprisoning More Women

NEW YORK -- Oklahoma, Mississippi and the Mountain states have set the pace in increasing the imprisonment of women, while several Northeastern states are curtailing the practice, according to a new report detailing sharp regional differences in the handling of female offenders.

The report, to be released Sunday by the New York-based Women's Prison Association, is touted as the most comprehensive state-by-state breakdown of the huge increase in incarceration of women over the past 30 years. Read more »

News Article

Number of women prisoners climbs in Ohio, bucking downward trend among men

Women’s prison population growth outstripped growth in the men’s population in every state during the past 27 years. A different trend has emerged since the end of 1999. Women continue to be disproportionately impacted in states where overall growth rates remain high. But among states that experienced little or no prison population growth, a large majority saw growth rates for female prisoners fall below rates for males. Read more »

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