Six months ago, we called on you to join Alicia Keyes, Cory Booker (D-NJ), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and others to draw attention to and demand an end to the inhumane treatment of incarcerated women, who are mostly mothers, in the United States. Mamas and mamas-to-be in prison are often denied visitation rights, shackled during pregnancy and denied feminine products and basic gynecological care.
Earlier this week, Congress advanced the First Step Act, a bi-partisan prison reform bill that incorporates a number of these provisions. It would mandate that prisoners are incarcerated closer to their families and work to prepare prisoners for successful reentry, something the United States, with a 77% rearrest rate within five years, is notoriously terrible at. How’s that for a Mother’s Day gift? With the backing of groups like Van Jones’ #cut50, which was instrumental in the bill’s development and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) (their summary here), we are cautiously optimistic and will keep you posted about how you can support and press for even stronger reforms.
Last week, we also called on you to support the end of money bail, which puts people in jail due to being poor and unable to make bail, and the movement to #FreeBlackMamas. This Mother’s Day we call on you to make a long-term commitment to the cause.
1 Read Brittney Barnett’s account of what it’s like to have a mother in prison. 1 out of 9 black children has a parent in prison.
2 Sign up for Appolition, an automated service for giving your “spare change” to the year-round National Bail Out fund.