Women

JS Blog Post October 8, 2014

Art for Change

Caitlin Gibb

A Lewis Cunningham describes himself as the visionary half of his artwork.  He receives messages and images from beyond (sometimes while driving along the Westside Highway in NYC), and then finds artists to put paint to canvas and bring those images to life.  I came across this piece of his at the 2013 Arts to End Violence tent at the Kingston Avenue Street Fair in NYC, and I believe its essence has been with me on a cellular level ever since.  Powerful art will do that to you. A little over a year later, I sat down to chat with him about the what’s-what and who’s-who of this poignant work. Read more »

JS Publication October 8, 2014

For-Profit Family Detention: Meet the Private Prison Corporations Making Millions by Locking Up Refugee Families

In this joint report by Grassroots Leadership and Justice Strategies, we review the history of charges of sexual abuse and neglect of children, indifference to medical needs, inadequate and unsanitary food, and brutal treatment by staff, levied in lawsuits, government investigations, and allegations by those held in family detention facilities operated by private, for-profit, prison corporations.  These same corporations are now being contracted by the federal government to detain refugee families arriving at our southern border after fleeing the violence in Central America.

JS Blog Post August 25, 2014

Hill Briefing on Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the United States -Wednesday, September 3 from 11-12:30pm in RM 2253 Rayburn Building, Washington, D.C.

Patricia Allard

Hill Briefing

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Hosts

Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the United States

 

“When my mother was sentenced, I felt that I was sentenced. . . She was sentenced to prison – to be away from her kids and her family.  I was sentenced, as a child, to be without my mother.”

- Antoinette, an adult, who was 8 years old when her mother was incarcerated[1]

When: On Wednesday, September 3, 2014 from 11-12:30pm

Where: Rayburn Building Room 2253

What: Please join Justice Strategies to examine how Congress can foster family integrity by offering alternatives to incarceration for parents convicted of non-violent drug or drug-related offences. Read more »

JS Blog Post August 21, 2014

United Nations Hears About the Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children

Patricia Allard

Formal Briefing on the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the Palais des Nations, United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland: The Children's Right Work Group of the US Human Rights Network (pre-recorded video presentation) presented a powerful statement, encompassing the following concerns: over medication and use of psychotropic medications of Black girls, child labor primarily affecting Latino children in the US, necessity for alternatives to incarceration of parents convicted of non-violent drug offenses and children of color's right to family wellbeing and integrity, concerns about trying youth in adult courts who are sentenced to adult prisons, school to prison pipeline, and removal of Indigenous children from their People.

Presenters: Stephanie Franklin (Franklin Law Group), Julia Perez, Patricia Allard (Justice Strategies) and Angelo Pinto (Correctional Association of NY). Videographer: Bo Yih Thom, Breakaway Addiction Services

JS Publication August 13, 2014

Justice Strategies CERD Report on Alleviating Impact of Parental Incarceration

In this brief report, Justice Strategies researcher Patricia Allard argues: 1) for judges to be allowed the discretion to sentence parents to alternatives to prison, and 2) to require, under federal and state law, that Family Impact Statements be submitted to the court prior to sentencing determinations.  These arguments form the basis of Justice Strategies' civil society shadow report submission to the 85th Session of the United Nation's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) taking place in Geneva, Switzerland the week of August 10th, 2014.  Follow Pat's reporting from Geneva on our COIP blog, Facebook page and Twitter feeds.

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 »

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