"To tell President Biden to exercise his"To tell President Biden to exercise his clemency authority," Pressley said, adding he can grant clemency to the 100 women "by the stroke of a pen." clemency authority," Pressley said, adding he can grant clemency to the 100 women "by the stroke of a pen."
"When this country incarcerates Black women, their entire family suffers," Pressley continued, saying this causes intergenerational trauma and hurts communities.
SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IS DEVASTATING FOR INCARCERATED MOTHERS AND THEIR CHILDREN
It was May 2020, and Esther Arias was finally going to be released from prison. “My older son had so much anger because he didn’t understand why everything was happening to me,” she said. “My kids have so much hurt.”
Leslie Credle couldn’t stomach the thought of her children seeing her that way: handcuffed, divided from them by an imposing Plexiglass shield, unable to reach out and touch their hands.
Women in solitary confinement face a higher risk of being sexually violated by correctional officers.
These various traumas can accumulate for mothers in solitary confinement, adding to the struggle to maintain relationships with their children.
A drive-by rally organized by Families for Justice as Healing. The women’s prison hit hard by the coronavirus, with 71 confirmed cases as of May 3.“There’s a feasible, actionable solution: we need them to be released immediately,” the rally organizers wrote in an online bulletin.
“Over the last six weeks, our coalition has led a call for folks to ask the Department of Corrections, DAs, sheriffs, Gov. Charlie Baker, and others to release people from Massachusetts jails and prisons in order to flatten the curve and keep everyone safe from the rapid spread of COVID-19
“We have alternatives, but they have their tunnel vision on building a new prison, on being stuck in those ways,” Ayanna Aubourg said. “This doesn’t just affect communities today, but generations to follow.”
“You have all the money for policing and prisons, but unless you invest in the community you’re wasting your money,” Credle said. “Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars to a system that is broken. We can change the system but they don’t want to give up the power.”
“We are working on what’s best for incarcerated women and yet on this other track over here, as if it’s almost oblivious, before we’ve even put out our recommendations the Department of Correction is barreling ahead with building a new women’s prison,” James said.
HISTORIC SENATE CRIMINAL JUSTICE FORUM, LED BY ADVOCATES
The issue of incarceration and racial justice in prisons has again become part of national debate following months of protests spurred by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody.
Senator Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy III showed a few distinct differences in how they approach a major concern of the day — how do you reform a broken criminal justice system? And who gets to have a say? While both lean heavily toward making life easier for prisoners, their visions – and track records — are not identical.
That became apparent during a forum on criminal justice Tuesday night, which drew questions from current and former prisoners and was moderated by Andrea James, the formerly incarcerated founder of the advocacy group Families for Justice as Healing.
CHARLES HAMILTON HOUSTON CO-AUTHORS HISTORIC AMICUS BREIFS IN LAND MARK IN MA SUPREME JUDICAL COURT CASE
How have Massachusetts courts historically treated the question of racial profiling during traffic stops?
Katy Naples-Mitchell: In 2008, the Supreme Judicial Court decided Lora, which established the right for a defendant under the state equal protection doctrine to prove they were stopped on the basis of racial profiling.
Challenging the idea of a pretext stop, that a police officer can stop you on the basis of a minor civil motor vehicle infraction when their real motive is to see if they can find something more.
Borden and Credle said that language is not just contradictory in suggesting a prison can be “trauma-informed,” but it ignores the other issues surrounding incarceration that would be better addressed with the $20 million—or $40 million, or even $50 million—spent on a new jail.
Borden’s rehabilitation program will focus on art as therapy to help formerly incarcerated women overcome the trauma of prison and abuse, and Credle runs Justice 4 Housing, which works to provide co-op housing for people recently released from prison.
“When you talk about building new prisons, you are putting out the message that those of us that live in these communities that you are intending future generations to be in those beds”
covid-19 & police violence strengthen the case against mass incarceration
Stacey Borden, a formerly incarcerated woman herself, saw what she describes as a gap in the right type of care for formerly incarcerated women. Borden founded New Beginnings Reentry Services, which takes a different approach to helping women re-enter the community after serving time. She’s also a member of the Boston-based organization Families for Justice as Healing, which advocates for prison reform.
Leslie Credle is also a member of Families for Justice as Healing and, also, is formerly incarcerated. We spoke with both women about what re-entry looks like for formerly incarcerated women and what incarcerated people have experienced during the pandemic
massachusetts prisoners will be among the first to get vaccinated
While advocates have applauded the state’s decision to allocate vaccines to inmates, they said they hoped it would not detract from the need to take other urgent steps, including early releases to reduce crowding and increased testing to identify cases.
Leslie Credle, Founder of Justice 4 Housing, a group that fights discrimination against former inmates, says some who are still incarcerated have told her they don’t trust the state Department of Corrections to administer the doses.
“‘They’ll take it home to their wives, and we’ll get water’ — that’s what one person told me,” Ms. Credle said. “If I were still in there, I wouldn’t take it myself.”
The DOC will use vaccinations as an excuse not to decarcerate. Which is our main objective to release those who are the most vulnerable.
doj report spotlights doc inadequate mental health care inside prisons
“We’ve seen it time and time again. The DOC’s only approach to responding to people’s health is through subjecting them to inhumane conditions. Like extended lockdowns and extreme isolation,“ says Ayana Auborg.
“The prison, the medical service that gets provided in jail is inadequate and right now, it is non-existent,” says Leslie Credle.
“I have people in there that call me that don’t have mental health issues and this COVID lockdown has triggered something in them,“ Credle explains.
despite harsh lockdowns, half of women inside ma prisons caught covid-19
“It’s one big solitary cell,” Cassandra Bensahih, coordinator at Massachusetts Against Solitary Confinement, told Solitary Watch. Bensahih said everyone in Massachusetts prisons are locked down at least 23.5 hours a day, and that incarcerated people have to choose between taking a shower or making a phone call during their 30 minutes out.
Leslie Credle, who was formerly incarcerated in Framingham, “living in the prison’s cells feels like living in a bathroom with another person—making lockdowns mentally difficult, and making it nearly impossible to socially distance.