Two Sides of Justice Curriculum

Page 1

Two Sides of Justice A Curriculum Resource

Produced by Project NIA Written by Santera Matthews Based on audio stories produced by Dr. Kathryn Bocanegra and Grant Buhr January 2020

Table of Contents u Forward | Pg. 1 u An Invitation | Pg. 2 u Introduction to the Project |Pg. 3 u Justice Deferred | Pgs. 4-20 u Family Impact | Pgs. 21-30 u Incarceration’s Impact on Families Quiz and Answer Key | Pgs. 31-33 u Case Studies | Pgs. 34-40 • Yeniz, “Here I am Papi” | Pgs. 35-36 • Julie, “A Mother’s Right to Visitation” | Pgs. 37-38 • Wayne, “22 Sentence” | Pgs. 39-40

u Guided discussions | Pgs. 41-54 • Yeniz | Pgs. 42-43 • West Side Grandma | Pgs. 44-45 • Lisa | Pgs. 46-47 • Julie | Pgs. 48-49 • Doris | Pgs. 50-51 • Carlota | Pgs. 52-54

u Appendix | Pg. 55

Forward In 2007 I started doing community-based mental health work on Chicago’s southwest side. I attended funerals for young people lost to violence and stayed connected with their families. My husband, Eddie, shared an idea with me in 2009 - what if we connected all of these families through a support group? Many were living in isolation, struggling alone with such a traumatic loss. Together we began Grupo Consuelo, a support group for families who experienced the traumatic loss of a loved one. Very few of them ever had their cases “resolved,” and rather sought to find meaning in their loss through an alternative sense of justice - healing through helping others. Several years later I was asked to participate in the Illinois Governor’s Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. I heard Commission members marshalling the experience of crime survivors in ways that were inconsistent with the perspective of the families with whom I’d been working. They desired accountability not through inflicting punishment on another person, but through establishing a shared sense of community safety and through personal transformation. So, when somebody asked me on the Commission “What do victims want?” it became clear that I needed to bring the voices of the families I had been in contact with into this space. I partnered with Grant Buhr, who had also been working with youth who experienced loss and helped them in their trauma recovery process through developing narratives and audio-visual recording projects. Together with Grant we developed a vision for the project- first, to challenge who is considered to be a ‘victim’ in the criminal justice process. We interviewed both families that had lost a loved one to violence, and families that had a loved one incarcerated for a violent crime. Second, to provide the families a space to share how they conceptualize justice after experiencing violence. With these goals in mind, “Two Sides of Justice” was born. It is our hope, Grant’s and mine, that more people will make use of these stories in their organizing, in their classrooms, and in their communities. We hope that this curriculum can provide ideas for questions that can be asked and will support communities in developing their own responses. Sincerely, Dr. Kathryn Bocanegra 1.

An Invitation When I first listened to the audio stories that are part of “Two Sides of Justice” a couple of years ago, I could not get them out of my head. The pain of the losses suffered and the grief that I heard expressed lingered. But I was also struck by the resilience that was clearly evident though I should not have been. I’ve worked alongside people who have been victimized by violence and who have perpetrated violent acts for over 25 years. Their stories are complex and nuanced. I had been in community with both Kathryn and Grant and am a great admirer of their work. I asked them for permission to create a curriculum resource so that these stories could be engaged and used by more people in their organizing and in their communities. They gave the green light and I reached out to a teacher-friend and long-time Project NIA volunteer, Santera Matthews to develop curriculum based on the audio stories. This work is part of the Building Accountable Communities Project (BAC) spearheaded by Project NIA. The BAC Project promotes non-punitive responses to harm by developing resources for transformative justice practitioners and y organizing convenings and workshops that educate the public. Partners of the BAC Project include the Barnard Center on Research for Women (BCRW) and Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action (ICRIA). I hope that you find this resource useful in your work. I thank Kathryn and Grant for producing the audio stories. Thanks also to Santera for her work, to Claire Schwartz for copy editing, and to Rachel Hoffman for designing this resource. In peace and solidarity, Mariame Kaba Founder & Director, Project NIA Co-Founder & Researcher, Interrupting Criminalization: Research in Action


Introduction to the Project

Two Sides of Justice is a collection of narratives from system survivors. The criminal justice system has altered the lives of the people whose stories you are about to hear, sometimes for the better but more often for the worse. Their contact with the system has permanently changed them and the trajectories of their lives. Their stories urge critical reflection about the ways the criminal justice system shapes the lives of individuals, families, communities, and our nation as a whole. These stories speak to contradictions and weaknesses in a system engineered by humans in the context of white supremacy. And at the same time, these stories highlight robust resilience and deep-rooted faith in a concept of justice that supersedes what was enacted in their lives. Survivors participating in Two Sides of Justice generously and bravely share their stories in loving memory of individuals who have been lost to violence and in honor of those in prison for committing violent crimes. As listeners will hear, the stories of the narrators’ loved ones are inextricably tied to the narratives of their own lives. In the end, the stories of Two Sides of Justice are not just about their family members or themselves. They are instead stories of the interwoven tapestry of human trial and triumph. This curriculum was designed to provide listeners with a template for deepening discussions about justice, violence, and healing. Using the curriculum as a guide, participants will develop understandings of the criminal punishment system, as well as punitive, restorative, and transformative justice. Participants will also delve into imagining what healing can be for all people impacted by harm—including survivors, family and other loved ones, and people who cause harm.


Justice Deferred Objectives 1. People will understand that justice administered through state agencies (police, courts, etc.) is used in order to uphold and reinforce white supremacy and provides minimal material healing for people who are survivors of violence—and often provides further injury. 2. People will understand that transformative justice is the provision of direct support to people impacted by violence without relying on punitive measures.

u Punishment and Justice Venn Diagram Directions: • Create a Venn diagram on a large sheet of butcher paper, white board, or chalkboard. • Write Justice over one of the circles and Punishment over the other circle.




Ask participants to call out what comes to mind when they think of punishment. Encourage people to think of institutions, ideas, cultural concepts, and individuals that they personally associate with punishment or that they understand to be associated with punishment in a broader cultural context. Next, ask participants to call out what comes to mind when they think of justice. Again, encourage people to think about institutions, ideas, cultural concepts and individuals they personally associate with justice, as well as those that they have witnessed being associated with justice in broader contexts. Finally, as a whole group, observe where overlap exists between concepts of punishment and concepts of justice. Write the shared concepts in the center of the Venn diagram. As a whole group, discuss what can be said about the diagram that you all created. Ask: What themes do you notice? Are you surprised by anything? Next, discuss the portion of the diagram that only includes justice. Ask: what would be needed to achieve this type of justice?


u Punishment and Justice Venn Diagram Debrief Facilitator will ask: What are your initial thoughts on what we created? Is there anything that is surprising to you? Facilitator will state: According to the Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance, punitive justice intervenes when someone has broken a rule rather than caused harm and is based in punishments that are predetermined. In punitive justice, the offended party is the state (cops, courts, prisons, etc.). Effects of punitive justice on people who have caused harm: • Pathologizes people • Defines people by their actions • Dssumes punishment and incarceration rehabilitates • Blames individual actions rather than addressing systemic problems • Assumes that removing one person solves the problem • Isolates people Effects of punitive justice on survivors: • Strips survivors of agency • Places the burden of proof on survivors • Forces survivors to establish linear narrative • Blames survivor • Has a low rate of successful conviction


u Defining Transformative, Restorative, and Punitive Justice Activity Directions: • Have participants read “Punitive, Restorative and Transformative Justice: The Basics” individually, in small groups, or as a whole group. After everyone has read the document, ask the whole group the following questions. According to Transformative Justice, Restorative Justice, and Punitive Justice, respectively... A. Who is offered justice? B. What people, organizations or entities are the recipients of this justice? C. How are people who have been harmed offered support? “Punitive, Restorative and Transformative Justice: The Basics” may be found here: http:// Facilitator’s Note: According to Mia Mingus: “Transformative Justice (TJ) is a political framework and approach for responding to violence, harm and abuse. At its most basic, it seeks to respond to violence without creating more violence and/or engaging in harm reduction to lessen the violence. TJ can be thought of as a way of ‘making things right,’ getting in ‘right relation,’ or creating justice together. Transformative justice responses and interventions 1) do not rely on the state (e.g. police, prisons, the criminal legal system, I.C.E., foster care system (though some TJ responses do rely on or incorporate social services like counseling); 2) do not reinforce or perpetuate violence such as oppressive norms or vigilantism; and most importantly, 3) actively cultivate the things we know prevent violence such as healing, accountability, resilience, and safety for all involved.” 7.

As stated on Restorative Justice “[i]s a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible.” -Howard Zehr, Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice Three assumptions underlie Restorative Justice: • When people and relationships are harmed, needs are created. • The needs created by harms lead to obligations. • The obligations are to heal and “put right” the harms; this is a just response. Three principles of Restorative Justice reflect these assumptions. A just response: • acknowledges and repairs the harm caused by, and revealed by, wrongdoing (restoration) • encourages appropriate responsibility for addressing needs and repairing the harm (accountability) • involves those impacted, including the community, in the resolution (engagement) Finally, Punitive Justice is the framework that holds that, in order to achieve justice, a person who has caused harm must be punished. This punishment is enacted on a personal level and/ or state level by means of policing or incarceration.


u What is the Prison Industrial Complex? Mind Map Activity Directions: • Tell participants that you all will be collaborating on a concept map around prisons in order to gather a collective understanding of what justice means to the group. Mention that this is a popular activity developed by Critical Resistance and adapted by many organizations such as Project Nia and Survived and Punished. • First, get a marker and chart paper. Write the word “prison” in the center of the paper. Then, draw a circle around it.


Ask the group: Who are the people impacted and associated with prisons (people who are incarcerated, families, people who live near prisons)? 9.

Next, ask the group: What are the institutions associated with prisons (hospitals, schools, courts, etc.)? Finally, ask the group to identify cultural notions associated with prisons (danger, safety, security, fear, punishments, etc.). Facilitator’s Note: Critical Resistance says that the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) is a term used to describe entangled practices of surveillance, policing and imprisonment used to serve overlapping interests of government and industry in economic, social and political realms. Critical Resistance argues that the Prison Industrial Complex is not broken; rather, it is working just as it was designed to. CR continues by stating, “Through its reach and impact, the PIC helps and maintains the authority of people who get their power through racial, economic and other privileges. There are many ways this power is collected and maintained through the PIC, including creating mass media images that keep alive stereotypes of people of color, poor people, queer people, immigrants, youth, and other oppressed communities as criminal, delinquent, or deviant. This power is also maintained by earning huge profits for private companies that deal with prisons and police forces; helping earn political gains for ‘tough on crime’ politicians; increasing the influence of prison guard and police unions; and eliminating social and political dissent by oppressed communities that make demands for self-determination and reorganization of power in the US.”


u Timeline Activity Facilitator will state: Now we will engage in a timeline activity where we will study the history of policing in the United States in order to contextualize our conversation about contemporary justice in history. We will read a timeline that was created by Critical Resistance. While the timeline is not exhaustive, it does provide a picture of how policing has played a pivotal role in maintaining punitive justice in the United States. Directions: • Facilitator will pass out copies of the timeline to individuals, pairs, or small groups. Participants will have 10-15 minutes (depending on group size) to read over the timeline. Before participants begin reading, the facilitator will encourage participants to look for patterns and themes that happen throughout history. When everyone has had enough time to read through the timeline, the facilitator will ask the whole group: 1. Was there anything surprising? 2. Anything that was missing? 3. What patterns and themes did you notice? 4. Why would we look at a timeline of policing when we are discussing justice? Facilitator will state: Critical Resistance, as well as other organizers, activists and scholars, have described the police as the gatekeepers of the criminal justice system. From this timeline, it is clear that policing in the United States has historically been used as a tool of maintaining white supremacy by way of genocide of indigenous peoples and cultures, anti-blackness, Christian dominance, ableism and xenophobia. Given this information, what type of justice does policing enact? Punitive, restorative or transformative? For this activity, use this timeline: 11.

u Mainstream Visibility and Punitive Justice Ask: What are some things commonly understood as victories or wins carried out by the state in cases of violence? When everyone has had enough time to read through the timeline, the facilitator will ask the whole group: As people name events, people, organizations and so on, write these down on chart paper or a whiteboard for all to see. Give people about 3 minutes to name events. Remind people that you are not doing this activity to judge what people label as victories (either according to mainstream or personal beliefs); instead, you want to create a collective understanding of what is celebrated as a victory in the United States justice system. Ask: Look at these victories. What is viewed as the problem here? What is viewed as the solution? Have a discussion about the victories that were named in order to get to the point that many of these victories that are celebrated do not make material differences in the lives of the people who were harmed, nor do they offer ways for people who caused harm to take accountability for their actions. If these “victories” provide any relief at all, that relief only reaches the least marginalized people, does not reach the root causes of violence, expands harmful systems, and divides people into categories of “deserving” and “undeserving.” Facilitator’s Note: Activist, organizer and attorney Dean Spade offers an analysis of what happens when solutions to violence are embraced by mainstream United States culture in his talk, “When We Win, We Lose: Mainstreaming and the Redistribution of Respectability”.


Spade states that mainstreaming does some of the following: A. Creates New Forms of Visibility Ex. Police state that they will take care of criminal justice reform for everyone, so everyone else can rest assured that they no longer need to organize on this front. This also creates new forms of visibility for issues that had previously been thought of as fringe issues or marginalized conversations before. B. Promotes Conditional Acceptance In terms of criminal justice reform, this conditional acceptance comes into play when the dominant conversation around supporting people who are incarcerated only focuses on supporting people who are incarcerated due to drug “offenses” instead of looking at how the entire system uses cruel punishment when dealing with all people behind bars. It can look like: “If you are incarcerated for minor drug possession, we will support you. If you’re locked up for any other reason, you are probably getting the treatment you deserve.” C. Deploys the Idea of “Deserving Figures” Similarly to distinctions made according to conditional acceptance, ideas about “deserving figures” support claims that “non-violent offenders” deserve early release from incarceration, while all other people who are incarcerated deserve the treatment they are experiencing. It can look like: Deploying tropes of who is seen as deserving of relief from the criminal justice system based on their proximity to white supremacist cisgendered, heteropatriarchal ableist norms. D. Advocates Recuperative Reforms Recuperative reforms are proposals that put a legitimizing face on existing harmful systems. They make it seem like the issue has been resolved without, in reality, addressing the underlying structural violence. 13.

E. Perpetuates Harm and Violence Even though mainstreaming might suggest that the problem has been solved—or is at least being taken seriously, the harm and violence continues. F. Sometimes: Backlash Enhances Vulnerability Even though a few people have “won� some resolutions to violence, when these issues become mainstream, there can be enormous backlash. When there is backlash, it primarily harms people with least access to structural power. None of these byproducts of mainstreaming results in meaningful material improvements for people most directly harmed by violence. The mainstreaming of Restorative Justice and Transformative Justice has taken many forms over the course of the past decade. For example, mainstream discussions around the violence that trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming people experience while in prison has led to efforts to create gender-responsive cages. In this scenario, these communities are still subjected to state punishment. Another example of the harms of mainstreaming in the realm of transformative justice is the creation of programs to divert people from correctional institutions and to place them instead under other forms of state surveillance. In this example, the person being diverted is just subjected to one type of violence rather than another. Dean Spade states that the mainstreaming of criminal justice reform poses significant threats to liberatory efforts due to the fact that mainstreaming may lead to the cooptation of structurally rigorous work and instead provide recuperative reforms to social issues.


u Supporting Survivors Directions: • Pass out copies of Story E., “Getting Support from my Co-Workers,” and have participants read independently, in small groups, or as a whole group (taking turns). After reading the story, ask the following questions: 1. What happened? 2. How did harm occur? 3. What was the community’s response to the violence? 4. Was justice achieved? If so, how? If not, why not? What would be needed in order to achieve justice? 5. What plan was put into place to offer healing?


u Barriers to Accountability It is said that we have become experts in labeling the problem but need to strengthen the skill of offering paths towards healing. This exercise will provide participants with practice in creating support for people to take accountability for the harm they have caused. Facilitator will state: I want people to think of all of the stories that we have listened to. Keeping these stories in mind, I want us to name out loud reasons why the people who have caused harm my not take accountability for their actions. What barriers are in the way of taking accountability? Some barriers that might be listed: • Some believe they were right in their actions/didn’t cause harm • People did not cause harm (maybe they broke a rule that only acted against state interests) • People were unaware of the impact of their actions • People did not want to be punished by that state. Ask: Now that we have listed barriers, what are some examples of ways that people who have caused harm can take accountability for their actions? Pass out copy of “Accountability Can Happen Across A Continuum,” which may be found on pages 4 & 5 here: Ask: Now that we have named these barriers to taking accountability and identified actions people can take towards being accountable, how can we think of ways that community members could provide support for someone in taking accountability for the harm they have caused?


u How do we support someone in taking accountability for harm they have caused? Directions: • Pass out copies of Story F.3., “Stopping Violence as a first step from the Creative Interventions Toolkit.” Have people either read the story independently, read aloud as a whole group, or read in small groups. After everyone has had the opportunity to read the story, ask the following questions: 1. What happened? What has the harm that took place? 2. How was the survivor supported in healing? 3. Was there justice in this situation? If so, how was justice achieved? 4. What resources and other supports were in place to help the person who caused harm take accountability for their actions? 5. Were there other interventions or resources that could have been used to support healing and/or taking accountability? The story can be found on pages 38-39 of this toolkit:


u Putting it all Together: Case Studies Directions: • Depending on your technology resources, you will either play samples of each story shared or you will pass out paper copies of case studies taken from each person who shared their story. After reading/listening to the stories, engage in a discussion with the whole group about the following questions: 1. What form of justice (punitive, restorative, or transformative) was enacted in each story? Describe your answer. 2. What role did the state play in this story? How did the state enact harm or offer healing? What role did the community play? How did community cause harm or offer healing? 3. What community or individual interventions could have offered non-punitive justice and healing in each of these stories? What resources would be needed to facilitate these interventions? What social structures, relationships, etc. would need to change in order to promote this liberatory justice and healing?


u Justice Beyond the State Think of a time when you could have called the police or other state entities for help to handle a harmful/violent situation where you used alternative methods to solve the issue. What strategies did you use to resolve the conflict? What resources did you use? What support network needed to be in place for you to use this alternative route? If you have not solved a problem without involving the state, what prevented you from being able to find alternatives? What would need to change in order to help you to resolve conflict without the state? Now that you have reflected on resolving conflict without the state, turn these strategies and ideas on to the stories that you have listened to with “Justice Deferred.� How could these different stories entail more healing if they were able to use alternatives to the state? Making no judgement on the ways the stories unraveled, think about what could have been differently.



Facilitator will state: Justice means many different things to people around the world. For example, restorative justice seeks to return circumstances and communities to the situations they were in prior to the harm; punitive justice punishes people for their actions; and transformative justice works to address the harm that happened while transforming the conditions that created the harm in the first place.


Family Impact Objectives 1. Participants will understand that what Audre Lorde called “the mythic norm” (white, middle-class, heterosexual, cisgender, able-bodied) has been used within the United States to justify punishing people who exist outside of those norms. 2. Participants will understand that, alongside the people who are incarcerated, families of people with incarcerated loved one are also punished by the criminal justice system. 3. Participants will understand that non-reformist reforms are efforts aimed at lessening suffering imposed by certain institutions, practices and procedures that do not offer more money, power or resources to said institutions.

u History of Separation Facilitator will note: Family separation has been used as a tool to consolidate power in this country since its genesis. The legacy of forcibly separating family members in what is today known as the United States began with slavery and the settler colonial campaign to exterminate indigenous nations. Now we will read the article, “America Was in the Business of Separating Families Long Before Trump”, in order to gain a better understanding of this violent history. -trump


After everyone has had the opportunity to read the article, “America Was in the Business of Separating Families Long Before Trump�, ask: 1. How has separation functioned in the United States over time? 2. What are some ways that family separation happens in this country now? 3. What role does separation play in maintaining hierarchies of power in the United States? 4. Who does family separation impact? How does it impact them?


u Statistics on the Impacts of Prison on Families Directions: • Tell participants that they will be taking a quiz in order to gather an understanding of their knowledge on the impact that incarceration has on families. • Pass out copies of “Incarceration’s Impact on Families Quiz”. • Give participants about 10 minutes to complete the quiz. Once everyone has finished, read through the answers as a group. Facilitator will state: Although some of the statistics are from close to 10 years ago, we can still gather that incarceration adversely impacts families across the country and that the family as a unit deals with the burdens of incarceration alongside the loved one who is incarcerated. Ask: Was any of this information surprising? Why or why not? What do these statistics tell us about the impact that punitive justice has on families of incarcerated people?


u Why Children with Parents in Prison Are Especially Burdened: Close Reading Directions: • Pass out copies of Amy Alexander’s article, “Why Children with Parents in Prison Are Especially Burdened”. You could complete this reading in three different ways: 1. People take turns reading aloud the article to the whole group. 2. People read the article in pairs or small groups. 3. People read the article on their own and reconvene when everyone has had time to read the text. The article may be found here: why-children-with-parents-in-prison-are-especially-burdened/433638/?utm_source=twb After everyone has read the article, ask: What are the consequences that children with incarcerated parents endure based on their parents’ time in prison?


u Impact of State Justice on Families: Case Studies Directions: • Depending on technological availability and group size, have participants engage with the case studies in one of the following ways: 1. As a whole group, listen to each story (Track 1 through Track 9) 2. Divide participants into small groups, and have each group listen to one of the stories. For example, Group 1 engages with Track 1, Group 2 engages with Track 2 and so on. After everyone has had the opportunity to listen to the stories, pose the following questions to the group: 1. What are the physical, emotional, health, and financial impacts on family members and friends of incarcerated loved ones who have caused harm? 2. How have families of people who are incarcerated sought harm reduction (a lessening of suffering) inflicted by punitive justice? 3. Where do you see opportunities for positive intervention or harm reduction (a lessening of suffering) that would support the person who is incarcerated and their family members? 4. In what ways are prisons isolating?


u Mutual Aid Prison Support Project Facilitator will state: According to the Big Door Brigade, “Mutual aid is a term to describe people giving each other needed material support, trying to resist the control dynamics, hierarchies and system-affirming, oppressive arrangements of charity and social services. Mutual aid projects are a form of political participation in which people take responsibility for caring for one another and changing political conditions, not just through symbolic acts or putting pressure on their representatives in government, but by actually building new social relations that are more survivable.� In other words, mutual aid projects provide direct support and resources in ways that will lessen suffering and address the material needs of people who are directly impacted by punitive structures. Ask: Based on the stories that we have listened to or otherwise engaged with as part of this lesson, how can the families we learned about be supported through mutual aid efforts? Think of the different families we heard from and answer the following question: 1. Consider the ways that incarceration harmed the families. What needs must be addressed in order to lessen suffering? 2. How can these needs be addressed? What system or organization must be in place in order to meet these needs? 3. How can people who are incarcerated and their families be supported? Facilitator’s Note: After people have answered the questions above, state that organizations around the country work to alleviate some of the suffering that incarceration causes for both people who are incarcerated and their families. Through pen pal programs, books-to-prisoners programs, community bond funds, jail support programs, and court support organizations, community members work to ensure that 26.

people who are incarcerated have connections to the outside world, either while they are incarcerated or when they are freed. Ride share programs, childcare collectives, and temporary housing projects are all ways that community members have organized in order to meet some of the needs of people with incarcerated loved ones.


u Non-Reformist Reforms and Family Revisiting Rights Facilitator will state: Prison reform and incarceration have become mainstream topics since the early 2010’s. Bipartisan support to “fix” the criminal justice system has been celebrated as a victory in itself. If our goal is to end violence and promote healing, it is important for us to remain critical in how we achieve this. Through this project, we have learned about the violence that the criminal justice system itself supports as well as the needs of people who are currently caught up in the system. So, how do we truly end violence while meeting immediate needs? Mariame Kaba, founder and director of Project NIA, offers guidance on how NOT to expand policing while offering immediate relief to people who are directly impacted by policing. Kaba’s non-reformist reform criteria may also be to applied prison reforms. In this section, we will study non-reformist reforms and see how they may be applied to address the violence of prisons. Directions: • Have participants read Mariame Kaba’s “Police Reforms to Always Oppose” as a whole group, in pairs or individually. The groupings will depend on the amount of participants you have. • After everyone has had the opportunity to read the article, divide the participants into three groups. • Assign each group one of the following case studies: Reunification Rides, National Black Mama’s Day Bail Out, or Raising Babies Behind Bars. Facilitator will state: Now we are going to engage in three separate case studies and assess whether the principles of non-reformist reforms are being applied in these scenarios. After you have read your case study, answer the following questions: 1. Does this organization or effort engage in non-reformist prison reforms? If so, how can you tell? If not, what would you suggest to help these projects be non-reformist reforms? 2. Alicia Garza, organizer and activist most notably known for her work in co-founding 28.

#BlackLivesMatter defines power as “being able to make decisions over your own life and being able to determine where resources go, who they go to, where they don’t go, and who they don’t go to.” What are the power dynamics in these organizations? Do these projects enhance communities’ abilities to develop power? How so? OR Why not? Facilitator’s Note: After groups have had time to discuss the questions, have everyone come back together as a whole group and share out their findings. Case studies for participants to engage with: • Reunification Rides: us_585ae0ece4b0de3a08f3f769 • National Black Mama’s Day Bail Out: • Raising Babies Behind Bars: wp/2018/05/11/feature/prisons-are-allowing-mothers-to-raise-their-babies-behind-bars-butis-the-radical-experiment-in-parenting-and-punishment-a-good-idea/?noredirect=on&utm_ term=.f07339976a8b



The violence of incarceration impacts both the person who is incarcerated and their loved ones. This practice of family separation has been used as a tool to maintain hierarchies of power in the United States since its inception. Mutual aid projects around the country have alleviated some of the suffering that incarceration inflicts. Programs that help meet the immediate needs of family members as well as people who are incarcerated offer us ways to imagine promoting healing without reinforcing the very systems that cause pain and suffering.


Incarceration’s Impact on Families Quiz 1. 1 in _____ children have a parent who is incarcerated. a. 100 b. 10 c. 28 d. 60

2. _____ Black children, _____ Latinx children, and _____ white children in the United States have a parent who is incarcerated in federal or state prisons. a. One in 9, 1 in 28, 1 in 57 b. One in 3, 1 in 10, 1 in 100 c. One in 5, 1 in 20, 1 in 40 d. One in 20, 1 in 40, 1 in 80

3. About _____ of children entering the child welfare system have a parent who is incarcerated. a. 15 - 20% b. 40 - 45% c. 5 - 10% d. 60%

4. In 2010, _____ of parents in state prisons and _____ of parents in federal prisons are held over 100 miles away from their residents. a. 25%, 45% b. 62%, 84% c. 10%, 20% d. 50%, 60% 31.

5. In 2011, there were more than _____ incarcerated mothers and _____ incarcerated fathers who are parents of minor children (ages 0-17). a. 50,000; 150,000 b. 200,000; 1.1 million c. 150,000; 2 million d. 75, 000; 500,000

6. _____ of all parents in state prisons lived with their children before being sent to prison. a. 15% b. 48% c. 70% d. 5%

7. According to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Forward Together, and Research Design the average amount of debt incurred for court-related fines and fees alone was about _____ in 2015. a. 20,000 b. $1,000 c. $7,000 d. $14,000

Statistics have been taken from: • Glaze,L. and Maruschak, L. Parents in Prison and Their Minor Children. Bureau of Justice Statistics Washington, D.C. 2011 • • The Sentencing Project Fact Sheet: Parents in Prison • 32.

u Answer Key Incarceration’s Impact on Families Quiz 1. c. 28 1 in 28 children have a parent who is incarcerated. 2. a. One in 9, 1 in 28, 1 in 57 One in 9 Black children, 1 in 28 Latinx children, and 1 in 57 white children in the United States have a parent who is incarcerated in federal or state prisons. 3. a.15 - 20% About 15-20% of children entering the child welfare system have a parent who is incarcerated. 4. b. 62%, 84% In 2010, 62% of parents in state prisons and 84% of parents in federal prisons are held over 100 miles away from their residents. 5. b. 200,000; 1.1 million In 2011, there were more than 200,000 incarcerated mothers and 1.1 million incarcerated fathers who are parents of minor children (ages 0-17). 6. b. 48% 48% of all parents in state prisons lived with their children before being sent to prison. 7. d. $14,000 According to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Forward Together, and Research Design the average amount of debt incurred for court-related fines and fees alone was about $14,000 in 2015.


Case Studies

Yeniz “Here I am Papi” “When she was little, we used to say ‘Papi’s in school.” It’s not that we don’t want to talk about it or like its taboo, but how do you explain to like a two, three year old, four year old, six year old.. Even a 13 year old, what you can’t explain sometimes to yourself? So again, it's like we were a stereotype. We wanted to break that. Here’s the other generation. She’s a stereotype again because she was born to teen parents, a father who’s incarcerated, he won’t be out until she’s 13 and since she was months old we were taking her to go see him at Cook County [Jail]. So she’s grown up in the system… so she’s grown up being incarcerated with him which is so sad. In Cook County [Jail] we’re not allowed to have any contact so you always see them behind a glass and you talk through a little phone. Once you’re sentenced - which I guess is the thing you’re most excited about because you can actually have human contact with them and there’s not a glass, it’s like you’re seeing them for the first time… it’s like holding him again for the first time when he was brought home from the hospital. You’re just full of emotion, I can’t even explain it now.

So the first time that we went to go see him, it had been four and a half years. He had never held or touched his daughter. And hug our mom. It was me, my mom, my brother, my dad and his daughter Mia. He came out - and he wasn’t in handcuffs anymore - and Mia was like hiding underneath the table and she was like ‘I want Papi to think that I’m not here and then I’m gonna pop out and say ‘Boo’. He was a lined up and this was the first time he was seeing his daughter and he wanted to be presentable and have her have the best image of him so he came out to the table and he said, ‘Where’s Mia?’ but he already seen her because you could clearly see underneath the table and she popped out and was like, ‘Here I am Papi!’ He just started to cry. To just see them hug for the first time it was like “finally”. They’ve always had this close relationship and they have this insane bond that I cannot 35.

describe. You would have to see it to believe it because people think, ‘Well, how can a child have a bond with their parent that’s incarcerated?’ I feel like you shouldn’t let certain things that people do define who they are because everyone has their flaws. Even though he’s in there, he’s an amazing father. Sometimes they go over homework. [Mia will say], ‘Papi did you know that this and this?’ and he’ll say, “Mia, how do you say this?’ So they have something to talk about the next time he calls. People don’t see that there are amazing moments that can still be created even though this person is locked away. He can’t physically be there but it doesn’t mean that he’s not emotionally there. That doesn’t mean that he is not mentally there because she is so much like him. Even though he’s not there, it’s like he’s still there. She knows her dad is a good person.


Julie “A Mother’s Right to Visitation” “We tried to pass, recently, a prisoner’s family bill of rights. The main thing in that bill was that family members - mothers, fathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles - have the right to an in person visit. Because I think the DOC would like to replace all of our in person visits with video visits. So we went before the committee, the Justice committee in Springfield. The DOC did not object to it. So we go and we get out of committee and we won, but now I know enough about politics that we really didn’t win. Our eight democrats voted yes and the two republicans voted no.

Why is that a hard bill to give a mother to visit her son? It’s that partisan that they’re voting no to it and the DOC doesn’t even object to it. And that was so eye opening to me. I was like, “How can you tell a mother no?” So we got out of committee and next we’ll go to the house floor and we’ll go to the senate floor but I’ve learned that just because you get out of committee doesn’t mean you’re gonna win. We have our work cut out for us because we have to go the legislature to see if they’ll talk to us legislature and see if we can get them on board. I would love [for] people to know how really bad our maximum security prisons are. When you go in, the IDs aren’t standard in this state. So I’ve seen young mothers come in with a baby or a two year old or three year old - and maybe they don’t bring the birth certificate because you call on the phone and they say you don’t need the birth certificate. And then [the mother] gets there and is challenged by the guard. I’ve seen the corrections officers, and again I call it the flavor of the day - just depends on who you get - and it shouldn’t be like that. We should have a statute where it’s standard: this is the age you need and id, this is the type of id you need, this is your dress code every prison goes by whatever the warden wants and the warden change frequently. So you could be going to Menard for five years and they get a new warden and everything changes. I’ll tell you this sad really terrible story. His name’s Mike and he was in Stateville for a 37.

long time. He was 18 years old and sentenced to life. He’s completely rehabilitated, he’s 44 years old now. His mom had a lot of health issues, he was in Statesville. She went to visit him and when she came in someone else had driver her and there was, I don’t know, a baseball bat or something in the car. They do a lot of car searches when you go to Statesville. They did a car search, said the bat was a weapon, and denied her visit. She went home, she contacted the warden and said, ‘It wasn’t really mine, I was in someone else’s car, it wasn’t a weapon.” The warden says, “Okay, fine, your visits are reinstated.” So fast forward a few years and her son goes to Menard She has a lot of health issues… she goes to Menard and they have you fill out this form… your name, how many inmate visiting lists your on, have your visits ever been denied? And it’s worded kind of tricky. Have your visits ever been denied? She put no because in her mind, that was a mistake. They let her visit that day, then they went and checked the record, sent her a letter saying her visits were denied for the rest of her life because she lied on the form. For eight years, Mike and his mother wrote the warden and fought to get her back on the list and ultimately she died before ever seeing him.”


Wayne “22 Sentence” “When I got arrested, my son was one year old. When he was arrested his son was two years old so the cycle that people talk about really happens. When I went it, I was still getting into trouble so I went to a more advanced lock down prison and I stayed there a long time. So I did almost a third of my time in a max joint and I just worked my way down out of there. I did about almost 8 years upstate and in the feds they gave me a 22 year sentence. Before all of that I did probably a year and a half in juvenile. So you know, I’ve pretty much been doing time all my life. My son was arrested for carjacking, he was 20 years old when that happened. He was a troubled youth. He was going to school, a troubled school, he choose that path and got caught doing what he thought was cool, I guess. He was sentenced to 22 years so he copped out the minimum and got half of the time. I was in prison when he caught the case on a 22 year sentence myself. When I found out he was gonna do time, I was hoping he would get it continuous, long enough for me to come home to come see him but that didn’t work out because it was getting close to crunch time. He either would go to trial or cop out, therefore I missed out on seeing him in Cook County.

He’s come seen me in prison as much as we could get him down there but he was young. He did make it and I did have a connection. How did it feel when my son would come see me? Well it was a nice feeling. Maybe a little down as far as him seeing me like that but he was so energetic and I was so hyped up it was all smiles the whole time. We just talked about everything so it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t even like I was locked up. You know, we bonded. My family and his family had been able to visit him on a regular basis. At least monthly. He calls every week just to stay connected. My phone calls with him are interesting. They’re just like when I was locked up. Just the reversed roles. I share my experiences 39.

with him - stay out of trouble and much as you can because 9 times out of 10 - well maybe 8 out of 10 - the trouble you get in is the other person’s problem not your problem. You just got to have a lot of foresight on those situations before they come. He’s pretty sharp so he catches on pretty quick.


Guided Discussions

Yeniz u Guided Discussion “They Got Him and Then They Never Let Him Go” 1. What happened? 2. What role did the hegemony of English, or the dominance of the English language, play in the harm caused by the police? 3. What role did xenophobia play in this story?

“I Was Always Taught That the Justice System Has Our Back and Justice Will Be Served” 1. What factors led to Anthony taking a plea deal? 2. Yeniz argues: “You have to do your own investigation. You have to search on your own even though you are paying money for this lawyer to do these things. And then when you actually speak to your lawyer, it’s kind of like they don’t take you serious.” What would you need in order to do your own research? How would you be able to establish credibility in the court of law?

“Even though I’m not an inmate, I’m an inmate” 1. Based on what Yeniz shares, what power do correctional officers (COs) have? 2. When speaking about the COs, Yeniz says, “They purposely want you to fail here.” What does she mean when she says this? How do the correctional officers promote failure? 3. Yeniz says that the COs are the ones supposed to protect the people who are incar42.

cerated, but what role does Yeniz argue COs actually play in prisons? Why do they playthis role? What does this say about the criminal justice system?

“There Will Never Be Justice if You Can’t Afford It” 1. Yeniz says, “There will never be justice if you can’t afford it.” What does she mean? How does her family’s experience with incarceration prove this statement true? 2. When speaking about state justice, Yeniz shares: “We raise our kids and we teach our kids that, you know, we have the right to speak up. But then we also have those families that teach their kids ‘don’t speak up’ because they live in fear.” How does fear impact the possibilities for creating justice? What fuels fear with encounters with the justice system?

“Here I am Papi” 1. When speaking about her niece’s experience of having a father in prison, Yeniz argues, “She’s grown up in the system. So she’s grown up being incarcerated with him.” What does Yeniz mean by this? 2. From the information Yeniz shared about visitation rules in Cook County Jail, how can we tell that these visitation rules are punitive? What harm do these visitation rules cause?


West Side Grandma u Guided Discussion January 23, 2017 1. What happened? 2. Who was harmed? Who caused harm?

West Side Grandma: “He Calls Me ‘Grandma’” 1. What was the police’s response to Grandma’s request for help? 2. What harm happened as a result of the police’s response to the grandson’s death? 3. The grandmother states: “I participate in the CAP meetings and all of the stuff that’s in the community. Some of the police—I mean all of them are not bad, but you got some, especially on my block, some of them are just so inconsiderate. She told me, she said, ‘We’re going to start doing work on your block because they sell drugs over there. We need to know exactly who are the people that are selling.’ Like she wanted me to be some kind of informant. And I told her, “Wait a minute. What are you talking about? You guys want to know what’s going on over on this block, you send someone over here to sit in the park and watch them.’ I said, ‘I’m coming to you because I want you to arrest this guy that has murdered my grandbaby.’ She was talking like in a way where, ‘You wash my back, Ima wash your back.’ That’s the way I took it, and I didn’t like that. That’s the kind of justice I get over on my block. But you know what? The police didn’t kill my grandbaby. The little boy that he went to school with and knew—they went to 5th grade together—he killed my grandbaby…” How can people who have experienced harmed be supported when the person who caused harm does not take accountability for their actions? What consequences need to 44.

happen for the person who caused harm in spite of their unwillingness to take accountability? How does the community respond to supporting the people who were harmed? (In this situation, the people who were harmed would be the family who lost a loved one.) 4. The grandmother asks for help from the state, as well as from people who knew how her grandson was killed. What would need to change in order for the grandmother to receive the help she requested? Why is she unable to get this help now? 5. Why don’t the young people who knew about the murder come forward? What would need to change in order for them to come forward with information? 6. How could the people who had information about the harm be part of the accountability process? 7. What system would need to be created in order for people to come forward and take accountability for harm they have caused? 8. What does accountability outside of a punitive system look like?


Lisa u Guided Discussion That’s What He Did 1. What was the state’s response to Darren’s death? What support did the state offer Darren’s family? 2. What was the media’s response to Darren’s death? In what ways did the media support or harm Darren’s family? How could the media have supported Darren’s family during this time?

Another Mother Lost Her Son 1. What does Lisa mean when she says, “Nobody won here, and this isn’t justice”? If the charge isn’t justice, what is it? How could Darren’s family receive justice instead of what Lisa described as “another loss”? 2. What was Lisa’s reaction to finding out that the person who killed her son was pleading “not guilty”? What does this reaction teach us about the complexities of wanting restorative justice in this case? 3. Lisa says: “If he walks, my prayer is that he makes different decisions with his life—that he walks away a new person, different than he was when he went in.” What would he need in order to heal after the harm that he has caused?

Imma Make This Right 1. When speaking about the person who killed her son, Lisa says: “This young man needed to have relationship. And he needed my love even if it was from afar. 46.

l I believed all of those things. But now, wait a minute. You’re telling me that he’s fighting for his life, and that means that they’re going to villainize Darren in order to save his life? And it took me some time because I needed to ask myself: ‘Well, if you’re having a problem with this, then I want you to take a look at what you say you believe’. I had to go back to the facts versus the truth.” What does Lisa need in order to have justice in this situation? What obstacles are in place that prevent the person who caused harm from taking accountability for his actions? What would need to change in order for the person who harmed Lisa and her son to take accountability? 2. Lisa states: “Darren didn't deserve to die for making the worst decision of his life. And [the other person] doesn’t deserve to spend any more time in jail for making the worst decision of his. I said, ‘Your Honor, I just ask if you would show leniency in your sentencing for this young man. Someone will always be in a position to speak up for my son, but no one's here to speak up for you today, so I’m gonna do it.’” After reading Lisa’s statement, how do you see isolation playing out in the PIC? 3. Lisa says: “Justice is being able to have my say. Being able to tell the justice system what I need and what I want—and getting it. I got it. I hadn’t thought about it like that before, but I did. This was a win because I got what I wanted. My voice was heard, and it was validated by the judge issuing a lesser sentence, showing leniency.” What type of justice was Lisa able to get through this system? What would need to change in order for Lisa to achieve transformative justice?


Julie u Guided Discussion Nintendo for Christmas 1. What happened? How was Eric’s family informed of what harm took place and how their son was implicated in the harm? 2. Julie said: “I never expected that the police to lie for us. I got it. Even though Rick was a policeman, they have a job, and [I] completely understand that. I never thought that they would fabricate tales against us. It was very eye-opening for me. Not a good eye-opening either.” Based on Julie’s reaction to the police’s involvement in her son’s conviction, what role did the police play in Julie’s life prior to this event? How has her opinion of the police changed? 3. What material difference does Eric’s time in prison make for the people who were harmed by his actions? In what ways does this sentence contribute to the healing of everyone involved? What type of justice is administered through Eric’s prison sentence?

“120 Degrees. 2 People in a 6x8 Cell” 1. From Julie’s experiences, what do we learn about the costs associated with visiting someone who is incarcerated? 2. How was Eric’s life impacted by his prison sentence? How has Eric’s family been impacted by Eric’s prison sentence? What barriers are in place to isolate individuals and families in the prison system? 3. Julie says: 48.

“Someone just asked me: ‘Well, do you believe that Eric should’ve been punished, and do you believe he should’ve went to prison?’ And I’m like, I don’t think those are the same questions. I believe he should have been held accountable. Absolutely. It was horrific and, when kids do anything wrong, you hold them accountable, but probably in an appropriate way. And to say that you’re never going to be anything? How do we just throw away the key to people and say, ‘It doesn’t matter what you do or how you try to redeem yourself, you’re just still gonna be in prison?’ So I think that accountability is different than punishment, and I think we are really stuck on a very punitive action.” What is accountability? What would Eric need in order to be accountable for his actions?


Doris u Guided Discussion Doris 187 1. What happened? 2. Who was harmed?

De las Cenizas Tiene que Renacer la Vida 1. What advice does Doris give to the young person she meets at the funeral for a young community member? What is needed in order for this advice to be actualized?

Una Herida que Se Abre Vez que Un Joven Muere 1. Doris states that there is no justice when a parent has to bury their own child. How does Doris find healing after her son’s death? How does she use her story to help others? 2. What impact does the death of a young person have on their community? According to Doris, what does the community need as a response to this death and this harm? 3. Doris states that the young people who experience harm need comfort in their lives. What comfort does Doris state is needed? What systems would need to change in order to provide this comfort?

La Comunidad Esta Dividida 1. Doris states that there is a division in her community about how to respond to the 50.

problem of gangs. What are the two sides of this debate? 2. Doris states that we need to fight for a safe community. What does a safe community look like? What resources, relationships and institutions are needed to create a safe community?


Carlota u Guided Discussion Yo Tuve Que Decircle A El Que Su Hermano Habia Muerto, Y Como Habia Muerto 1. How does Carlota’s family respond to her son’s incarceration?

Perdone el Hecho Para No Seguir con Esta Carga de Dolor y Odio 1. How has Carlota been punished through this harm?

3.5 Años 1. Carolta states that she simply wants justice, but the “justice” that the criminal justice system provides is not justice. According to Carlota, what would justice be? 2. Carlota states that she does not believe that taking the life of the person who killed her son will bring her son back. What does justice look like in cases of murder?

La Justicia De Ellos 1. Carlota states that her son’s life had no worth to the state, and therefore the state went through the investigation of her son’s murder quickly. Given what we know about Carlota and her son, what factors led to the devaluation of her son’s life to the state? What needs to change in order for her son and community to be valued? 2. Carlota states that the person who killed her son is not experiencing consequences for her son’s death. What does Carlota believe are the consequences for killing someone?


Regeneracion 1. Carlota states that there are people who leave prison wanting to live different lives than the ones they lived before they were incarcerated, but their time in the system marks them in ways that limit the possibilities for change. What does she suggest people need in order to start their lives over in a new way, free from causing more harm?

Me Ha Criado en Una Familia que Respetaba la Ley y Justiciar 1. From this story, what do we learn are the limits to following the law? 2. How do stereotypes about gangs impact people who are not in gangs but live close to gangs?

Buen Hijo, Buen Muchacho 1. How does Carlota’s son support people he is incarcerated with? 2. What does her son hope to do after he is released from prison? 3. What does Carlota say her son needs most while incarcerated? What are ways he can receive this support?

Lo Que No Entienden 1. According to Carlota, how are people treated in court when they are accused of a crime? What impact do you think this treatment has on the outcome of the court’s decision? 2. If you do not speak English and are on the side of the person who is being accused of committing a crime, how are you treated by the court? 3. According to Carlota, how are families treated when they are on the side of the accused? How are families treated when they are on the side of the victim? 53.

Somos Victimas Iguales 1. In what ways are people who are incarcerated devalued? What impact does this devaluation have on the life of the person who is incarcerated? On the lives of their family members? 2. Why does Carolta say that the families of the people who were harmed and the families of the people who have caused harm are both victims? 3. What does healing for both families look like under the punitive justice model? 4. What does healing for both families look like under restorative and transformative justice models?


Appendix • Punitive, Restorative and Transformative Justice: The Basics • Timeline of Policing in the United States 1845 - Present • Story E: Getting Support from my Co-Workers • Accountability Can Happen Over a Continuum of Time Handout • Story F.3: Stopping Violence as a First Step • “America Was in the Business of Separating Families Long Before Trump” by Jeffery Robinson • “Why Children with Parents in Prison Are Especially Burdened” by Amy Alexander • “Police Reforms You Should Always Oppose” by Mariame Kaba • “For Moms In Prison, Distance Can Hurt as Much as Time” by Kim Bellware • “National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day is Raising Money to Help Bail Out Incarcerated Black Women in Time for Mother’s Day” by Kyli Rodriguez-Cayro • “Raising Babies Behind Bars” by Justin Jouvenal




intervenes when someone has broken a rule rather than caused harm is based in punishments that are pre-determined the offended party is the state (cops, courts, prisons)

The effects of punitive justice on people who've caused harm: • pathologizes people • defines people by their actions • assumes punishment and incarceration rehabilitates • blame is on an individual person and not a systemic problem • removal of one person solves the problem • isolates • sex offender registration The effects of punitive justice on survivors: • strips survivors of agency • places the burden of proof on survivors • memory ---> retraumatizes • forces survivors to establish linear narrative • blaming the survivor • low success rate of conviction The effects of punitive justice on the community: • alienated by process of legal defense • illusion of safety ---> defined from the outside • low success rate • builds the illusion that sexual assault does not exist (very few cases) • enforcement mechanism that operates on oppression (causing harm) • disproportionate regulation targets marginalized communities • media fear mongering • disempowers communities and forces a reliance on the state • divides communities • no accountability • violence on the community ...continued on next page...


RESTORATIVE JUSTICE Process presented as a choice (limited in reality). Person who created harm needs to “give back/restore.” Alternative to incarceration (at times). Holds individuals (not systems) responsible, does not take into account systems of oppression. Gives survivors more opportunities to participate in process to a limited level. Incorporates survivors without basing approach on their voice/perspective. Asks: What was the harm to community? How can a person who created harm give back? Mediation, classes, community service, resources to person(s) harmed. People are less likely to be removed from community. “Justice” is restored. Breaks judicial systems monopoly on responses and/or extends the state further. Acts as community based but is not.

TRANSFORMATIVE JUSTICE... Asks why the harm was committed and what the root causes are. Looks at the behavior → doesn’t mean the person is a bad person. the person who caused harm has healing to do person is not reduced to their actions Believes that someone can be both someone who has caused harm and has been harmed. Offers choices and many options and moves toward liberatory values, understanding status quo is not enough. Involves a willingness to deeply question the status quo, and asks for imagination beyond current system. Tries to secure safety and healing. Asks what do you need to have justice. Assumes each process is organic and particular to each situation/community. What does that community need to make this process accountable? Works to address power and privilege, in community and larger systems. Transformative justice is hard! People burn out. It brings up questions of capacity, as individuals and as communities. It requires skills we don’t learn “culturally” and within current institutions (open communities, conflict resolution, etc.) Mistakes can have a real and huge impact on people’s lives. The story for transformative justice is still being written....


RESOURCES ORGANIZATIONS Creative Interventions: Embracing the values of social justice and liberation, Creative Interventions is a space to re/envision solutions to domestic or intimate partner, sexual, family and other forms of interpersonal violence. (Check out their amazing toolkit, available for free on their website!) Communities United Against Violence (CUAV): Founded in 1979, CUAV works to build the power of LGBTQQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) communities to transform violence and oppression. We support the healing and leadership of those impacted by abuse and mobilize our broader communities to replace cycles of trauma with cycles of safety and liberation. As part of the larger social justice movement, CUAV works to create truly safe communities where everyone can thrive. For Crying Out Loud: This group's website hasn't been updated since 2011, but may still be a source of inspiration for folks seeking alternatives to mainstream responses to sexual assault. The focus of this group is survivor support and empowerment. GenerationFIVE: The mission of generationFIVE is to end the sexual abuse of children within five generations. We work to interrupt and mend the intergenerational impact of child sexual abuse on individuals, families, and communities. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence: INCITE! is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and our communities through direct action, critical dialogue, and grassroots organizing. The Network/La Red: The Network/La Red is a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, BDSM, polyamorous, and queer communities. Rooted in anti-oppression principles, our work aims to create a world where all people are free from oppression. We strengthen our communities through organizing, education, and the provision of support services. The Northwest Network: The NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse works to end violence and abuse by building loving and equitable relationships in our community and across the country. Philly Stands Up!: Philly Stands Up! hasn't updated their website since 2012, but may still be a source of inspiration for folks seeking for community-focused solutions for holding perpetrators of sexual assault accountable within frameworks of harm reduction, transformative justice and anti-oppression. Safe OUTside the System: The Safe OUTside the System (SOS) Collective is an anti-violence program led by and for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans, and Gender Non Conforming people of color. We are devoted to challenging hate and police violence by using community based strategies rather than relying on the police. Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER): All students have the right to a safe campus, free of sexual violence. SAFER empowers students to hold their universities accountable for having strong campus sexual assault policies and programming. We’re here to help you organize for change.


READINGS Beautiful Difficult Powerful: Ending Sexual Assault through Transformative Justice by the Chrysalis Collective Creative Interventions Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Stop Interpersonal Violence Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma by Staci Haines In an Abusive State: How Neoliberalism Appropriated the Feminist Movement Against Sexual Violence by Kristin Bumiller My Body, My Limits, My Pleasure, My Choice by Generation FIVE Rape, Racism, and the Myth of the Black Racist by Angela Davis Toward Transformative Justice – Generation FIVE Transforming a Rape Culture ed. Emilie Buchwald, Pamela Fletcher, and Martha Roth Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape ed. Jaclyn Freidman & Jessica Valenti

MEDIA Addressing Trauma: Generation FIVE Generation FIVE digital stories Secret Survivors: play, documentary, and toolkit


Policing in the United States 1845-Present Colonization and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Era: 1100s-1800s Resistance: Armed Resistance, Revolutions, Cultural Survival 1100s: Origins of the “Shire Reeve” or Sheriff in England. Sheriffs were representatives of the crown who sat in on local affairs to make sure laws were actually being enforced (previously, localities had relied on collective enforcement efforts of citizens; the Sheriff’s role thus extended the power of the crown). These unpopular figures were also tax collectors, at least initially; later forms included coroner, justice of the peace, and constable.  1100s-1800s: Use of “night watches” in Europe and its colonies: civilian groups of men required by law to patrol the streets at night. They were unpaid, often unwilling, and apparently “frequently drunk.”  1492: Colonization of the Americas by Europeans begins; brutal militia force is a routine part of land-grabbing, along with later forcing Indigenous peoples into working for colonizers in mines and agriculture.  1600s-1700s: Establishment of trans-Atlantic slave trade; use of force and control of bodies institutionalized into economic systems of the Americas.  1500s-1800s: Colonial forces import European justice systems to what is now the U.S., including sheriffs, constables, and night watches. They were unpopular entities whose jobs included taxing and elections alongside law enforcement. Militias, Patrols, and White Supremacist Consolidation of Power: 1680s-1800s Resistance: Armed Resistance, Escape and Subversion, Cultural Survival  1680s: South Carolina passes a law that allows any white person to capture and punish a runaway slave. In 1690 a law was passed that required whites to act in this role. Slavery and white supremacy were so fully institutionalized in the American South that, as one author put it, “White supremacy served in lieu of a police force.”  1700s-1800s: Reform of London Watch to resemble a modern police department: pay, round-the-clock hours, and hierarchical command were established. As in the U.S., establishment of actual “police departments” was based on growth in property crimes.  1703: Boston passes a curfew law for all Blacks and Indigenous people, establishing race as a defining criteria in law enforcement in the new colonies (even non-slavery ones).  1776: Formation of a nation-state in U.S. colonies; national militia unifies in effort to remove the British and a national constitution provides for maintenance of military and National Guard.  1700s onwards: Southern cities such as Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, and Mobile form paramilitary groups tasked with the control of enslaved people, with the goal of preventing and repressing rebellion. Slave patrols and militias often work together. In the U.S., these organized patrols are the first proper antecedents to “modern” police forces.


 

Early 1800s: Pass laws were passed in several Southern states requiring all Black people to carry passes and allowing for arrest of any Black person without a pass, regardless of their status. Mid-1800s: Police in the U.S. coalesce into one relatively uniform type. Previous law enforcement models such as guards, watchmen, militias and slave patrols begin to coalesce into city-run, 24-hour police.

Property Control and Order Maintenance Era: 1840-1940 Progressive Era: Reform and Bureaucratization to Protect Elite Interests Resistance: Armed resistance, growth of urban social movements, immigrant and labor union organizing, reforms  

 

 

1845: Establishment of first unified and uniformed police force in NYC. Boston and Philadelphia follow. 1865: Emancipation of enslaved people. Emancipation is followed immediately by passage of laws controlling Black people’s public movement and work; emancipation also stipulates that slave labor may continue for those convicted of a crime, creating an incentive for whites in power to arrest Black people in order to exploit their labor and prevent their entry into wage labor and political power (13th Amendment). 1860s-70s: Reconstruction and a rapid gain of political power by Blacks in the south is met with extreme legal and extralegal backlash, including violent vigilante and militia action against Black people attempting to vote or run for office. Southern “law enforcement” is often indistinguishable from white supremacist vigilante groups. 1872: First Black police officer in Chicago 1882: Chinese Exclusion Act is passed, banning all Chinese laborers from entering the United States and preventing residents from naturalizing. This marks the first major piece of legislation restricting immigration to the U.S. followed by several laws restricting immigration through quotas and mandatory registration. 1885: In New Orleans following a levee workers’ strike, the mayor suggests to police to arrest any Black man who “did not want to work.” Late 1800s: Increased urbanization leads to decreases in serious crimes, but increase in elite fears of working-class rebellion. “The crisis of the time was not one of law,” writes Kristian Williams, “but of order—specifically the order required by the new industrial economy and the Protestant moralism that supplied, in large part, its ideological expression.” 1886: Haymarket Riot. After an Anarchist throws a bomb at police at a workers rally in Haymarket square in Chicago, police riot against demonstrators, killing at least a dozen. Seven police are also killed. Raids on activist community ensue, and ultimately 8 men are convicted as examples. Four of them are murdered by execution. 1905: Pennsylvania State Police the first state police agency is established in response to private police forces used by mine and mill owners to stop worker 2

 

   

strikes and the inability or refusal of local police to enforce the law. By 1930s, every state had some form of state police agency. 1914-1924: police repression of labor organizing/strikes. 1912: Bread and Roses strike by IWW in Lawrence, MA. 100 children to be sent to Philadelphia for the duration of the strike. Police detain, beat and arrest mothers and children. When taken to Police Court, mothers refuse to pay fines and are imprisoned, drawing national attention to working conditions in Lawrence. 1919: Chicago Race Riot. The riot began after a white man threw rocks at Black people on a segregated Southside beach. Black WWI veterans were active in protesting police violence. 1920-1933: Prohibition. Policing was about enforcement and dealing with organized crime. 1920s-1930s: IWW and other unions particularly active. Police are routinely employed as a shield between unions and corporations, breaking up strikes and threatening labor organizers with violence. 1890-1930: Progressive Era reforms lead to “kinder, gentler” system and reforms of local corruption in city governments. Police departments become more disciplined and hierarchical as a result. Progressive reforms also lead to innovations like the probation and parole systems, legalizing bureaucratic state intrusion into poor people’s homes. Urban professional social services and public housing are also invented, often working in tandem with these new reformed government systems such as child welfare and the juvenile courts. 1900-1940: Formation of state police forces begins as a response to union actions. Large corporations had employed their own private forces, and reformists saw this as unsavory while corporations saw it as expensive. State Troopers are the solution.

Crime Fighting Era: 1930-1970 Birth of Civil Rights Movements Resistance: Armed resistance, non-violent tactics inspired by anti-colonial revolutions abroad, solidarity with anti-colonial movements, legal reforms, rioting  

1930s: J. Edgar Hoover and US Bureau of Investigation get expanded crime fighting responsibilities. Renamed to FBI, establish academy to train local police. 1943: Detroit Riots. Arrests of several Black people after a skirmish and a rape accusation leads to days of white rioting against Black people met with Black rioting against whites. According to Thurgood Marshall, the police “used ‘persuasion’ rather than firm action with white rioters, while against Negroes they used the ultimate in force: night sticks, revolvers, riot guns, sub-machine guns, and deer guns.” 1942-1946: Japanese Incarceration. Between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese descent, 62% of whom are American citizens, are forced out of their homes and imprisoned in inland government “camps”. Signed into effect by President Roosevelt after Imperial Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, internment relies 3

  

on collaboration between different authorities including the executive branch, the military, the Census Bureau and local police. 1940s-1950s: McCarthyism and the Red Scare. Anti-Soviet sentiment and a government-produced fear of nuclear war and Communism are rallied as a justification for blacklisting and surveillance of anyone who is a suspected Communist—a pre-cursor to “anti-terrorism” policy today. 1950: Schools begin creating their own security forces to crack down on property destruction and vandalism. 1950s: Emergence of the Civil Rights Movement as we know it, which uses civil disobedience strategically in national campaigns. Non-violent protestors, most of them Black, are routinely met with violence. 1950s onwards: COINTELPRO, a secret FBI program, active in monitoring and disrupting Civil Rights and Black Power activities for two decades. COINTELPRO is ultimately a key player in dismantling the radical movements for justice that emerged in this era. 1955-1956: Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Height of Struggle for Racial Equality and Self-Determination Resistance: Armed Resistance, Black Nationalism, LGBT and Women’s Liberation Organizing, Peaceful Demonstration, Rioting, Legal Reforms  1960s-1970s: After decades of quashed attempts, police themselves are finally able to form unions. State concessions to police create further unity up and down the police hierarchy.  1961: Southern Freedom Riders met with police violence, notably in Birmingham, AL, where the riders were arrested and removed. When they returned on Mothers Day of that year, they were beaten by Klansmen while police looked away.  1964: On July 10, a group of African American men in Jonesboro, Louisiana led by Earnest “Chilly Willy” Thomas and Frederick Douglas Kirkpatrick founded the group known as The Deacons for Defense and Justice to protect members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) against Ku Klux Klan violence.  1964-1967: Uprisings in NYC, LA, Detroit and Newark, NJ in reponse to police brutality against the black community.  1965: Selma to Montgomery march (Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965)  1966: Black Panther party formed  1966: Miranda v Arizona  1966 and 1969: Compton’s Cafeteria and Stonewall rebellions. Queers resist police harassment.  1967: Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders: found that reasons for civil unrest included unemployment, job and housing discrimination, inadequate social services, unequal justice and police actions. Kerner Commission found that police were committing acts of brutality, harassment or abuse, they had little training or supervision, community relations were poor and failure to employ black officers. Formation of police subculture, emphasis on hierarchy and following orders, officers not on streets and regular contact with people is limited.  1968: Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act establishes Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. Feds can funnel millions of dollars to local law 4

  

enforcement, helped thousands of cops pay for college, paid for technological innovations such as computers and communication devices. 1968: first police SWAT team established in LA. 1968: the American Indian Movement (AIM) is founded in Minnesota to address poverty, housing, police harassment and treaty issues affecting the indigenous community in the US. 1968: Police repression of the protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Although many are injured and killed, this moment is an important watershed in that police mob violence was captured on camera and distributed internationally. Even Chicago police officials are forced to admit things “got out of control.” 1969: Murder of Fred Hampton in Chicago. FBI works with Chicago police to commit premeditated murder of BPP leader Fred Hampton in his house on the South side.

Order Maintenance and Suppression Era: 1970s-present Backlash Against Activist Movements, Control of Urban Spaces Resistance: Armed resistance, continued non-violent resistance, rioting, struggle for political power including more Black voices within police forces and mainstream politics  1970: Kent State and Jackson State murders. Four college students at Kent State in Ohio and two college students at Jackson State in Mississippi are murdered by police during anti-war protests. The four white students’ killings are national news, while the murder of the two black protestors is downplayed by the media and historians. Both events, though tragic, helped to strengthen anti-war sentiment throughout the country.  1970s: Radical Black Power movement and other groups such as the Young Lords and the Gay Liberation Front are routinely infiltrated and criminalized by police and FBI. These movements are eventually torn apart in the process, forcing activists into either more mainstream politics and tactics, or permanent incarceration and marginalization.  1970s-80s: through federally funded “drug war” programs and surplus equipment from the military, paramilitary police units, SWAT teams and anti-drug task forces begin springing up.  1971: Detroit police creates the notorious STRESS anti-crime unit, which stood for Stop the Robberies Enjoy Safe Streets. This unit over a two year period was responsible for the deaths of over 30 individuals in the city, most of whom were Black.  1971: Attica Rebellion. Men locked up in Attica prison in New York State stage a massive rebellion in response to deplorable conditions and violent treatment by guards. The Black Panthers support the Attica prisoners in advancing a list of demands, but the immediate protest ends in a massacre of prisoners by state police called in to quell the rebellion.  1972: Chicago Police Torture begins. Under the leadership of Police Commander Jon Burge, at least 135 African-American men and women are tortured by 5

 

Chicago Police between 1972 and 1991. By the time the issue is brought to the surface, the statute of limitations is up for a torture trial. 1973: The town of Wounded Knee and the Pine Ridge reservation are occupied for 71 days by members of AIM. 1979/1980: Miami Riots. The police murdered a Black salesman named Arthur McDuffie after a chase. When three officers were acquitted by an all-white jury in Tampa (the case was moved by a judge), crowds rioted in Miami. Seventeen were killed and nearly 500 injured.

New Conservatism and the Drug War Resistance: Media and legal campaigns to expose corruption and racism, rioting, peaceful demonstration  1980s: “Drug War” begins at Reagan’s urging, setting up urban communities of color as both victims and perpetrators in an ongoing process of criminalization. Crack-cocaine shows up in these communities while the feds look away. Many police raids, especially in South Central LA.  1987: First gang injunction against Playboy Gangster Crips in West LA.  1988: STEP Act. Street Terrorism Enforcement and Protection Act. The act provides for felony prosecution of active gang members, felony penalties against adults who coerce youth into joining a gang, and possible life terms in prison for murder convictions involving drive-by shootings. It also outlines penalties for graffiti vandalism and sale of illegal weapons. Other provisions call for publication of a gang-prevention resource guide for community organizations and in-service teacher training in preventing gang violence and drug abuse.  Late 1980s: ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) begins to use civil disobedience to draw attention to the growing AIDS crisis and demand government support for research and aid to victims. Police suppress protests, but ACT-UP is successful in getting AIDS on the map as a social justice issue.

Reforms and Expansion of the PIC Resistance: Organizing against zero tolerance and racial profiling; rioting  1990: Police and FBI set up “Earth First” activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney to make them look like terrorists. The pair are acquitted, and in 2002 a jury awards they $4.4 million in damages for violation of their civil rights.  1990s: Municipal school districts begin establishing their own law enforcement agencies in response to an increase in school shootings.  1990s: Passage of “Zero Tolerance” policy, racial profiling laws like Prop 21, “Three Strikes Law” and increasingly extreme enforcement of drug laws support massive growth of PIC. Further criminalization of poverty and of young people of color works to move many of the most economically marginalized into the prison system.  1990s: Passage of hate crimes laws brings LGBT movements into the business of advocating for heavier policing and stricter sentencing, creating a widening divide in the movement between those who are routinely victims of policing and incarceration and those who are not. 6

 

 

 

1990s: Racial profiling on the map. Years of research and activism leads to the popularization of the term “racial profiling” to describe police practices targeting people of color. Police departments are forced to see racial profiling as an issue, and in some cases address the issue through policy changes (though not always in practice). 1992: Rodney King Uprising 1994: Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. $8.8 billion over 6 years to local law enforcement for hiring and acquiring technology, hiring civilians to free up officers and implementing new programs. Forms the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Provides resources and training. By 1999 60% of local agencies had a plan to incorporate community policing. Also implements 3 Strikes, Federal Assault Weapons Ban and increases crack down on gang activity (providing money for gang units/gang enforcement). 1990s-2000s: “Community Policing” model emerges around the country, encouraging homeowners, business owners, and local police to unify efforts to police the streets. This process is closely tied with urban gentrification, and “in practice certain populations generally get counted among the problems to be solved rather than the community to be involved” (Williams). 1996: Formation of the Oct 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. A broad coalition against police repression establishes a yearly day of protest on October 22 which continues to this day. 1997: Institution of Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium forms in Fresno. 1998-2000: Rampart/ CRASH (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) anti-gang unit in LA scandal. More than 70 police officers in the CRASH unit were implicated in misconduct, making it one of the most widespread cases of documented police misconduct in United States history. The convicted offenses include unprovoked shootings, unprovoked beatings, planting of evidence, framing of suspects, stealing and dealing narcotics, bank robbery, perjury, and covering up evidence of these activities. Some officers also found to have close ties to Crips gang and to have murdered hip-hop artist Notorious B.I.G. 1999: Thousands protest police violence including high profile case of Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo in NYC. 1999: WTO Protests in Seattle. Over 40,000 protestors take to the streets to criticize the World Trade Organization and global imperialism; the ensuing police riot leads to several days of violence against protestors that is publicized around the world.

Backlash Against Immigrants, Birth of New Movements  2001: 9-11 changes face of policing and surveillance.  2001 and 2006: USA Patriot Act expands federal law enforcement authority, especially around surveillance. Homeland security grants progrmas funnels more money to local police departments. Terror enhancements are used to trump up charges. 7

     

      

2002-2014: NYPD establishes Demographics Unit (later renamed Zone Assessment Unit) to engage in a mass surveillance campaign of Muslim communities in the New York area. This campaign lasts ten years, and includes mapping neighborhoods with large Muslim communities, photo and video surveillance, maintaining files on thousands of Muslim individuals in databases and embedding informants within Muslim Student Associations and mosques. 2003: Oakland Riders acquitted of misconduct involving kidnapping, beating, and planting drugs on people who were then either charged and did time or paid fines on those drug charges. 2009: Tasers first deployed to police. January 2009: Oscar Grant killed by BART officer Johannes Mehserle, followed by uprisings in Oakland. Mehserle convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2010. June 2010: North Oakland temporary Gang Injunction takes effect. 2010: Jon Burge convicted in Chicago for lying under oath about police torture cases. 2010: Passage of Arizona’s SB-1070 is the first in a rash of draconian antiimmigrant laws that task local police with immigration enforcement and formalize racial profiling by police and, in Alabama, even by school officials. The events lead to the strengthening of black/brown coalitions against policing and racial profiling. March 2011: Secure Communities, a program of Homeland Security that uses partnerships among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies including shared databases to more effectively deport immigrants by giving ICE access to fingerprints taken at local jails, expands to over 1200 jurisdictions. 2011: New Orleans police convicted in Danziger bridge trial. Five current and former New Orleans Police Officers are convicted of civil rights violations for the brutal murders of civilians attempting to escape New Orleans via the Danziger bridge during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The U.S. Justice Department also targets New Orleans for widespread brutality, corruption, and discrimination. May 17th, 2011: STIC wins significant victory by stopping additional injunctions until an independent review is done of the ones in place and getting all “does” removed from injunctions. June 2011: John Russo, City Attorney, is forced out of Oakland. June 24, 2011: Preliminary Fruitvale Gang Injunction issued. July 22, 2011: Largest gang injunction ever is issued by the LA County DA, covering 16 square miles of the San Gabriel Valley August 8, 2011 Carlitos Nava is killed in Deep East Oakland. Prompts City Council to try to ram through more gang injunctions, a near 24 hour youth curfew and a loitering ordinance. Oct 5, 2011 Hundreds turn out to City Hall and defeat these measures. October 25th, 2011: Oakland police and police from at least 10 other departments attack Occupy Oakland protesters after shutting down the camp using tear gas, rubber bullets, flash/bang grenades and bean bags.


               

February 2013: Kayla Moore, a black trans woman with schizophrenia is arrested and killed by Berkeley police after a call is made for a mental health evaluation. July 17, 2014: Eric Garner is killed by officer Daniel Pantaleo in Staten Island, NY after being put in a choke hold. On December 3, 2014 a grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo. August 9, 2014: Michael Brown, an 18 year old unarmed black man was shot by white officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. On November 24, 2014, it was declared that the St. Louis County grand jury had decided not to indict Wilson. November 2014-January 2015: Protests against the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and ongoing police violence against black communities erupt around the country and last for months. November 20, 2014: Akai Gurley is killed in the stairwell of Brooklyn’s Pink Houses by rookie police officer Peter Liang. November 28, 2014: Blackout Collective members shut down West Oakland BART on Black Friday in support of Mike Brown and in memory of Oscar Grant. April 22, 2015: Freddie Carlos Gray Jr is arrested in Baltimore, MD and later dies of a spinal cord injury incurred during his ride in the police van. December 2, 2015: 26 year old Mario Woods is killed by SFPD. May 2015: Chicago establishes a reparations fund for hundreds of mostly black survivors of police torture during the 1970’s through ‘90s under former police commander Jon Burge. July 2015: Sandra Bland is arrested and jailed in Texas for failing to signal a lane change. She is found hanging in her jail cell days later and her death ruled a suicide. January 18, 2016: 25 protesters from the Anti Police Terror Project and black.seed shut down the Bay Bridge as part of 96 Hours of Direct Action to reclaim MLK’s radical legacy. May 2016: Louisiana passes “Blue Lives Matter” legislation to include law enforcement and first responders under its hate crime protections July 2016: Police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile launch protests in cities across the country. Micah Johnson is killed by police with an explosivecarrying robot after shooting five Dallas police officers at a protest. July 2016: 14-year old Bresha Meadows is arrested and placed in juvenile detention for shooting her abusive father while trying to protect her family. September 9, 2016: Over a hundred demonstrators from the Bay Area’s Stop Urban Shield coalition successfully lock down outside the Urban Shield weapons and military training expo in Pleasanton, CA September 2016-February 2017: Native-led demonstration at Standing Rock over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) results in deployment of private security, local law enforcement and the National Guard. Police use water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas to attack water protectors camped out in subzero temperatures. Energy Transfer Partners, the corporation backing DAPL, hires private security firm TigerSwan to digitally track activists and share information with the FBI and local law enforcement.


      

November 2016: The American Public Health Association (APHA) issues a policy statement naming law enforcement violence as a public health concern. January 27-February 2017: Trump issues Muslim ban, leading to immigrants and travelers detained at airports, quickly followed by widespread protests at airports across the country. Riot police are deployed at many airports. February 2017: Trump signs three executive orders aimed at increasing policing. February 2017 onwards: Sweeping ICE raids are conducted across the country following threats by the Trump administration to increase deportations. March 2017: Portland’s TriMet public transit system announces plans to build a new $11M transit police precinct and jail June 2017: Portland police officers request help from Three Percenters in arresting an anti-fascist protestor during a fascist rally in Portland June 2017: Kate’s Law and No Sanctuary for Criminals Act are passed by the House. The first increases penalties on undocumented immigrants with prior convictions, and the second incentivizes cities to ramp up local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities.


E.6. supporting survivors or victims real life stories & examples Story E. Getting Support from My Co-Workers So we’d been married for a year and a half. We were both very involved politically. I had a new baby, I was at home. I know that I started feeling like my life was kind of slipping away. But his world started to change. And he started to become much more community-involved and I was less and less community involved. And it led to a lot of tension in the relationship, and a lot of tension around me being at home and he being sort of out in the world. I think the arguing and the fighting and the challenging verbally started. And it just escalated. And became very contentious, you know. The relationship was very contentious. So I remember he came home one night, and he had been out. And I remember he came home one night and we just started fighting. I picked up a glass and threw it at him and it hit him in the side of his face and that was it. He chased me in the living room. We have this brick fireplace in the living room. He chased me in the house and grabbed me, threw me on the floor and just pounded my face into the brick wall. I mean, when thinking about it now, I’m thinking, “How did I survive that?” I felt like he was going to kill me. I mean, I felt like this man has lost his mind, and I’m dead. I remember that he just kicked me, pounded my face into the brick wall, into this fireplace, and…and then he left. The first assault was one thing. That was shocking to me. The second one was more shocking. Because the first one felt to me like he just lost it, and he just wasn’t aware of what he was doing, and he just responded so violently because he lost control of himself. And that to me was not as shocking as the second time because I felt like the second time was almost more being very much more intentional. So I was much more shocked that actually happened after we got back together. I still felt like I was in a lot of shock, and I was very depressed. You know, I was depressed after this happened. I was depressed for probably about three or four months. I was just in a deep, deep depression. And mostly because I felt like you know this was a person that I just didn’t know. I just didn’t see this side of him. I couldn’t go to work. My supervisors were very supportive. I mean my whole face was...I couldn’t go to work because my face was so damaged that there was no way I could leave the house looking like I was looking. So my co-workers were very supportive and gave me the time I needed to be off.

Section 4E, Page 17


2 3

4E supporting survivors

2 3 4 5

I don’t think we called the police. And I wasn’t going to. I mean, police to me was never an option. I don’t think I felt like they would have done anything at all. I wasn’t necessarily opposed to the police, but I just didn’t feel like I knew what their role was. So I didn’t call them, but there was plenty of other support. And I don’t think I ever, I don’t think I felt like there was anybody who was not supportive of me. I never heard anybody say things like, “Well, you need to leave the motherf*****” or to say, “What did you do to provoke him?” I don’t think I heard those kind of comments from anybody. I got a lot of support and affirmation and people wanting to be helpful. I think the first level of support was concern for my physical well-being. And you know, really making sure that I felt safe. And where I was, was I safe? And did I feel like I needed some support to make me safe? And I don’t think there was much of a sense from my friends of any sort of like domestic violence shelters or anything like that. I think it was, “Do you feel safe here in your house? He’s not here, he’s gone, do you feel safe? Do you feel like he’ll come back? And if he comes back do you feel safe about that?” And so I think there was a lot of concern about my safety. There was also a lot of concern about my mental health and what that meant in terms of just taking care of myself physically. People brought me food. “Are you eating?” “Do you need somebody to be here with you?” I mean, I think the fact that I was depressed was really scary for people. “Do you need us to be here to make sure you’re eating?” “Make sure you’re not sort of thinking about suicide or anything like that.” So there was a, there was a lot of that. “Do you just need someone, do you just need someone to come and cook you some dinner or lunch or whatever.” I had people that bought groceries for me, and brought food to me, and offered to come and help clean the house. And it wasn’t at all patronizing. It was like, “You know what, we understand that right now you might not have the energy to do all of these things, so let us take care of you.” Even to the point where – I just, I never will forget this. We had hardwood floors at the time. And I remember one person saying, “Do you want me to come in here and paint your walls?” I mean, it was like, “We’ll paint for you!” You know, I think they wanted to change the environment or create an environment where I felt comfortable. “Is there something different we can do here in your house.” So I remember that a couple people came and painted my living room and dining room, and I remember getting new rugs on the floor. So my friends were more concerned about my well-being and I had a little nine month old. They were concerned about “Was I able to take care of her and did I need some support in taking care of her?” So people were providing tangible things for me. And then, people were just willing. “You need to call us in the middle of the night, call me.” I mean I just had people who were like, “Just call me.” “You need to talk, just call me and talk.” I felt like I was a burden, and I felt like I didn’t want to impose this on my friends, but I felt like they were there. “You want to talk ad nauseum, talk ad nauseum.” So I felt like there was just kind of listening, they were able to listen to me.

Section 4E, Page 18


2 3

4F taking accountability

2 3 4 5

Accountability as a Process We can think of accountability in several ways.

1. Accountability can happen over a continuum of time. Accountability is something someone can take in the short term. We might: •

Stop using violence.

Slow down and listen to understand how our actions have impacted those around us.

Take action to repair the harm that our actions have caused others.

Identify and try out new ways of thinking and behaving.

Get support and encouragement for our efforts and successes.

Taking accountability or accountability is also a long-term and life-long process. We might:

Grow our confidence to face our imperfections and turn away from patterns that harm others (and ultimately ourselves).

Grow our ability to feel our emotions without acting them out.

Practice and promote behaviors that honor ourselves and others.

Humbly support others around us to do the same.

Learn from and move beyond mistakes and set-backs.

Practice self-awareness and self-reflection to build mutually supportive and enjoyable relationships.

2. Accountability can happen along a continuum of depth. Any of the following can be thought of as elements of accountability: •

Being confronted at all, even just once about the violence that was done.

Section 4F, Page 4

• Experiencing and understanding that violence has natural negative consequences (for example, recognizing that one’s violence caused their friends to be shocked and scared – finding that friends began to avoid them). • Stopping or reducing violence – even if doing so is a response to social pressures from friends or community, or to a threat of losing relationships due to continued use of violence – and not because of deep change. • Listening to the person who was harmed talk about their experience of violence – without being defensive, interrupting or reacting against this story. • Acknowledging the reality of the experience for the person who was harmed – even if this is not at all what was intended. • Acknowledging that the use of violence was ultimately a choice – not something caused by someone else. • Expressing sincere apology, taking responsibility, and showing care to the person who was harmed. • Giving financial repairs (or reparations) to the person harmed. • Giving other significant repairs, perhaps in the form of service, replacement of property, and so on, to the person harmed. • Agreeing and taking every step possible to assure that these harms will not be committed again. • Knowing and agreeing that any future acts of harm will result in certain negative consequences. • Telling others about one’s own uses of violence not in order to gain followers or sympathizers, but to stop hiding private interpersonal violence. • Telling others about one’s own uses of violence to ask for support in changing. • Telling others about one’s own uses of violence to show that taking accountability can be an act of honor and courage. • Making it one’s own choice, commitment and goal to address root causes of violence, to learn new skills, and to deeply transform violent behaviors. • Showing actual changes in thinking and behavior in good times. • Showing actual changes to thinking and behavior in hard and stressful times. • Supporting others who have used or are using violence to take steps to take accountability.

Section 4F, Page 5

Story F.3. Stopping Violence as a First Step I was in a relationship with Karen for 3 years. Even though I started seeing the warning signs, I agreed to live with her. Our fighting started getting worse and more regular. It got so every day I would wake up worried that my day would begin with a fight. I did everything to avoid her getting mad, but everything I did seemed to get her upset. After every argument or fight, she and I would process about how she handled frustration. She had thrown a cup against the wall so hard that the plastic split and shattered. She had gotten out of the car that I was sitting in and slammed her hands on the roof of the car as hard as she could. She had hit her head against the bathroom wall and slammed the sink top with her hands. She had thrashed her legs around under the covers in bed and kneed the wall when she was mad that I hadn’t brushed my teeth. She would yell, curse, and literally sprint away during a disagreement or argument. We had processed and processed about it and had moments of shared understanding about why she experienced things and behaved in the ways she did, how she had learned it, what she was reacting to, etc. She came to understand that although she never physically hurt me and wasn’t a “batterer” using threatening or controlling behaviors against me, her behavior made me anxious, uncomfortable, and eventually full of contempt. She learned that it was hurting the relationship. But all of the talking did not result in actual change. Finally, a couple years later, after one incident, I told her that I would assuredly leave her if she did not change this aspect of her behavior. I asked her what she thought would work—what would make her change her behavior, since talking together about it wasn’t working. We had long passed the point where talking had any chance of stopping her from escalating her anger. She didn’t want me to leave and knew that I was serious. She came up with something herself, and we agreed upon a rule. If she began to get upset, she would try to use calming, self-soothing practices for herself. And if she expressed her anger and frustration with physical violence even once – including throwing things against the wall or pounding on things without necessarily touching me – she would arrange for herself to stay in a motel that night, and cover the costs and transportation on her own. She would take a cab and not walk to a motel at night (even if she wanted to walk), because putting her as a queer woman on the street alone at night was not going to be part of the plan. She could get hurt. And even if she didn’t, I would worry so much that I would get no rest. She agreed that she would take the cab so that she would be safe and I wouldn’t have to worry. The whole decision around these consequences seemed like such a small thing, but it made a big difference in her behavior.

Section 4F, Page 39


2 3

4F taking accountability

2 3 4 5

We eventually broke up. Her agreement to stop her abuse, and her plans to take steps to avoid further abuse made a difference. I think it also helped her understand that she really could take steps to control her abuse. It took years of me explaining to her how I felt and years of tolerating what I now find to be an intolerable situation. But she did finally admit that what she was doing was wrong or at least wrong to me. And she finally took steps to change her behavior. She stopped the most immediate violence and took responsibility to make plans to make sure that she would either stop or at least remove herself from our home if she couldn’t make herself stop in any other way. This was a first step and an important one. She could finally recognize with my insistence over and over again that her abusive behavior was wrong. We were for able to take a break from the continued cycle of violence for a while. But she chose to go no further. She would not change her underlying attitudes and behaviors. She refused to admit how deep these problems were and how simply stopping the most immediate behaviors would not be enough for me to trust her and relax enough to enjoy our relationship together. We had a moment of relief, but without deeper changes, I knew it would be just a matter of time before her abuse would start again. Stopping violence takes many steps. Changing violence and becoming someone who can truly enjoy human connection, love without control, communicate without having to make every conversation into an argument or a contest, and be open, curious and appreciative about one’s partner are things that I now seek.

Section 4F, Page 40


America Was in the Business of Separating Families Long Before Trump | American Civil Liberties Union



America Was in the Business of Separating Families Long Before Trump By Jeffery Robinson, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of the Trone Center for Justice and Equality JULY 6, 2018 | 1:00 PM

TAGS: Racial Justice

Children are crying for their parents while being held in small cages. The attorney general tells us the Bible justifies what we see and the White House press secretary backs him up. Be horrified and angered, but not because this is a new Trump transgression against real American values. America was in the business of separating families long before Trump.



America Was in the Business of Separating Families Long Before Trump | American Civil Liberties Union

I am not talking about spurious claims that Obama did the same thing or the valid comparisons to how our criminal justice system uses a cash bail system that every day rips children from their families before they or their parents have been convicted of any crime. The true story is that the United States has a well-documented history of breaking up non-white families. When we sent Japanese Americans to internment camps, families were often separated when fathers were sent hasty relocation orders and forced labor contracts. In some cases, family members (usually the father) had been arrested earlier and sent to a different camp. Forty years later, the U.S. government apologized, provided reparations of $20,000 to every survivor of those internment camps, and blamed the “grave wrong” on “racial prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” Sound familiar? The separating of Native American families was more intentional. America deliberately tried to wipe native culture from our country. According to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, beginning in the late 1800s, thousands of American Indian children were forcibly sent to government-run or church-run “boarding schools,” where they were taught English and forbidden to speak their native languages. An exhibit at the museum includes a quote from Richard Henry Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, stating: “In Indian civilization I am a Baptist, because I believe in immersing the Indian in our civilization and when we get them under, holding them there until they are thoroughly soaked.” The boarding schools forced children to cut their hair and give up their traditional clothing. Their meaningful native names were replaced with English ones. Their traditional religious practices were forcibly replaced with Christianity. They were taught that their cultures were inferior. Teachers



America Was in the Business of Separating Families Long Before Trump | American Civil Liberties Union

sometimes ridiculed the students’ traditions. These lessons humiliated the students and taught them to be ashamed of their heritage. “They tell us not to speak in Navajo language. You’re going to school. You’re supposed to only speak English,” John Brown Jr., a Navajo who served in World War II as a code talker by using his Navajo language for tactical communications the Japanese could not decode, told the museum in a 2004 interview. “And it was true. They did practice that, and we got punished if you was caught speaking Navajo.” And then, of course, America enslaved Blacks for 246 years. Separating enslaved families was done for profit, for punishment, or simply because a seller or buyer wanted it that way in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

STOP THE GOVERNMENT FROM ABUSING IMMIGRANT CHILDREN ADD YOUR NAME “Destroying families is one of the worst things done during slavery,” said Henry Fernandez, co-founder of the African American Research Collaborative and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “The federal government maintained these evils through the fugitive slave laws and other rules which defined African Americans as property with which a slave owner could do whatever they wanted.” Each of these policies, Fernandez said, begins with the assumption “that the idea of family is simply less important to people of color and that the people involved are less than human. To justify ripping families apart, the government must first engage in dehumanizing the targeted group.”



America Was in the Business of Separating Families Long Before Trump | American Civil Liberties Union

“The Weeping Time” exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture documents the U.S. history of separating children from parents. “Night and day, you could hear men and women screaming … ma, pa, sister or brother … taken without any warning,” Susan Hamilton, a witness to a slave auction, recalled in a 1938 interview. “People was always dying from a broken heart.” A report in the Maryland State Archives includes a narrative from a man named Charles Ball, who was enslaved as a child and remembered the day he was sold away from his mother. “My poor mother, when she saw me leaving her for the last time, ran after me, took me down from the horse, clasped me in her arms, and wept loudly and bitterly over me,” Ball recalled. “My master seemed to pity her and endeavored to soothe her distress by telling her that he would be a good master to me, and that I should not want anything.” Ball added that when his mother’s persisted, his master hit her with a rawhide whip. Thousands of former slaves looked for lost relatives and children who had been sold away from their families. They placed thousands of ads in newspapers. Those ads are now being digitized in a project called “Last Seen: Finding Family After Slavery,” which is run by Villanova University’s graduate history program in collaboration with Philadelphia’s Mother Bethel AME Church. Our history of separating families is no older than our use of the Bible to justify transgressions against humanity. In 1667, Virginia law stated that if an enslaved person became Christian it did not mean freedom because the only way that conversion could happen was through the “charity and piety of their masters.” When Texas withdrew from the union it declared that enslaving people was justified by “the revealed will of the Almighty Creator.” William T. Thompson, the designer of the Confederate Flag said, “As a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the



America Was in the Business of Separating Families Long Before Trump | American Civil Liberties Union

inferior or colored race.” Jeff Sessions is simply the most recent person to try to justify an indefensible policy by referring to the Bible. On June 14, Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited biblical scripture Romans 13 to claim support for the Trump administration’s forced separation of immigrant families. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” he said. As it happens, this is the same passage cited by loyalist preachers who said America should not declare independence from England; it was cited by southerners defending slavery; and, it was cited to defend authoritarian rule in Nazi Germany and South African apartheid.

VIEW COMMENTS (21) Fight for everyone's rights support the ACLU. DONATE NOW

RELATED STORIES A Louisiana Parish Jailed a U.S. Citizen for Being Latinx. We’re Suing.

AUGUST 22, 2019

Oklahoma Victims Compensation Program Disproportionately Denies Funds for... JULY 31, 2019



Why Children With Parents in Prison Are Especially Burdened - The Atlantic


Why Children With Parents in Prison Are Especially Burdened Two reports highlight the psychological effects of mass incarceration that no one is talking about. AMY ALEXANDER, CONTRIBUTOR AND NATIONAL JOURNAL DECEMBER 14, 2015

Quincy Jones, 11, attends a holiday party at Hope House in Washington, DC on Saturday. Jones's father is incarcerated. (EMILY JAN)

While mass incarceration in America came to dominate the domestic political and policy debate this year, the impact of imprisoned parents on children has largely remained a side issue. Two new reports make a strong case for centering children and families more squarely in the foreground of discussions on criminal justice—and within evolving legislative and policy changes affecting incarceration. “Discussions of U.S. corrections policy do not often consider children,” write P. Mae Cooper and David Murphey, researchers at Child Trends and authors of a comprehensive study on youth and children of imprisoned adults.



Why Children With Parents in Prison Are Especially Burdened - The Atlantic

“We need effective programs to mitigate the harm associated with having an incarcerated parent. Although in-prison programs focusing on parenting skills are common, few are focused on meeting the needs of children directly during the time parents are in prison,” Cooper and Murphey write. Some 5 million children, or roughly 7 percent of all children living in the U.S., have a parent who is currently or was previously incarcerated, according to the study, which was published in October 2015 and drew from National Surveys of Children’s Health dating to 2007. Findings in the Child Trends study are echoed in a similar report published Dec. 10 by the Center for American Progress, a progressive political think tank in Washington. CAP researchers Rebecca Vallas, Melissa Boteach, Rachel West, and Jackie Odum found that between 33 million and 36.5 million children—nearly half the total population of U.S. children—have at least one parent who has a criminal record. Real-world implications for the children of incarcerated parents include a range of potential negative effects, leading authors of the Child Trends study to call for policymakers and lawmakers to step up funding and programs aimed at “reducing the trauma and stigma these children experience, improving communications between the child and the incarcerated parent, and making visits with the incarcerated parent more child-friendly.” And Vallas, director of policy for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at CAP and lead author of the report on parents in the criminal-justice system, said, “Because these challenges affect such a large share of our nation’s children, we ignore these intergenerational consequences at our peril.” What’s at Stake While researchers at Child Trends acknowledge that there are few longitudinal studies of the long-term impact of parental incarceration on children, Cooper and Murphey’s analysis of existing data shows an alarming collection of “adverse childhood experiences (ACEs),” also known as immediate negative outcomes, affecting children with incarcerated parents. e list of such ACEs includes “increased risk for trauma, or toxic stress, particularly when they are cumulative,” Cooper and Murphey write.



Why Children With Parents in Prison Are Especially Burdened - The Atlantic

In addition, the Child Trends researchers cite related indicators that have potential long-term negative impacts for children. ese indicators are frequently present in households where a parent is or has been incarcerated, and they render children vulnerable to fallout from a dynamic that psychologists call “loss of an attachment gure.” e report found that: • More than half had lived with someone who had a substance-abuse problem,

compared with fewer than 10 percent of children with no parental incarceration. • Nearly three in ve had experienced parental divorce or separation, compared

with one in ve children without parental incarceration. • More than one-third had witnessed violence between their parents or guardians,

and one-third had witnessed or experienced violence in their neighborhoods. Less than 10 percent of those without an incarcerated parent had experienced either one. • More than one in four had lived with someone who was mentally ill or suicidal,

and nearly one in 10 had experienced the death of a parent. e major takeaway is that direct interventions are needed to help keep incarcerated parents connected in positive ways with their children, and to have programs that help families, schools, and neighborhoods to cope. Without such programs—including community- and educator-awareness training designed to reduce shame and stigma surrounding incarcerated parents—a toxic cycle of crisis can develop, which could later lead to incarceration for the child. For families of limited economic means, in particular black and Latino families, options for supporting children with imprisoned parents can be scarce. Murphey and Cooper estimate that black children, poor children, and children of parents with “little education” are disproportionately represented among the total population of children of incarcerated parents.



Why Children With Parents in Prison Are Especially Burdened - The Atlantic

Amira Jones, 9, picks out a gift for her aunt and grandmother at Hope House's annual holiday party on Saturday. Jones's mother is in jail. (Emily Jan)

e Scramble for Solutions To date, the federal response to this aspect of America’s mass-incarceration machinery has been scattershot. With more than 2 million men and women locked up in jails and prisons nationwide—and with blacks and Latinos comprising a majority—the U.S is the most heavily incarcerated country in the developed world. Analyses of impact to communities, municipalities, and states has focused primarily on nancial costs, which have increased dramatically since the 1980s. Yet, with the exception of the Second Chance Act—a bill introduced in 2007 under President George W. Bush that directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to allow “aging prisoners” under certain circumstances to request transfers to home con nement, and receive grants to aid reentry—no signi cant legislation addressing the socioeconomic status of current or former prisoners and their family-members has emerged. e Second Chance Reauthorization Act, which will renew and update the 2007 bill, was sponsored by Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio last summer and is awaiting a vote. Its focus now must include attention to family needs, in particular



Why Children With Parents in Prison Are Especially Burdened - The Atlantic

children, in the context of inmates and the recently-released, according to the bill’s sponsor. “About 95 percent of the people in our prisons will eventually return to society. It is in all of our interests to give these individuals a second chance,” Portman and Democratic Rep. Danny Davis of Illinois argued in a recent op-ed. Davis sponsored the 2007 bill. “at may mean helping someone break a drug habit, acquire needed skills or deal with a mental health issue to hold a job, support a family and pay taxes. e spouses, children and extended family of ex-offenders deserve a second chance and if re-entry programs are successful, our communities will be safer, and taxpayers will save millions of dollars annually,” wrote Portman and Davis. In 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services’s Administration for Children and Families convened the Children of Incarcerated Parents’ Working Group. e group, led by the White House Domestic Policy Council, is composed of representatives from HHS and the departments of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and Education, as well as the Social Security Administration. It produced a solutions-oriented tool kit that was distributed to prison bureaus, welfare agencies, and residential reentry centers. us, during the past 20 years, a patchwork of public and private support systems have developed to ll the space left by the dearth of direct federal funding and support for children who have incarcerated parents. e Annie E. Casey Foundation (a Next America sponsor), developed a suite of resources for funders and community and charitable organizations designed to “preserve the parent-child connection” during parental incarceration, including literacy programs, mentoring and counseling for children, and parent-child visiting programs. Some states, too, have mounted programs and services to address the challenge of keeping children and incarcerated parents connected. In Oregon, the state Department of Correction oversees the Children of Incarcerated Parents Project, a 12-year-old public-private initiative that includes Head Start programs, mentalhealth services, and educational opportunities. In Washington, Hope House, a nonpro t focusing on helping incarcerated parents stay connected with their children, offers summer-camp opportunities, as well as a recorded-books program. Executive Director Carol Fennelly, who founded Hope House in 1998 and its summer camp a few years later, said that while she’s



Why Children With Parents in Prison Are Especially Burdened - The Atlantic

optimistic in general about the recent attention from politicians and policymakers to the larger issue of ending mass incarceration, she has concerns that the status of children and families of the imprisoned is not receiving crucial direct support. Most urgently needed, in Fennelly’s estimation, are educational awareness programs designed to eliminate or lessen the shame and stigma experienced by children of incarcerated parents. “We have had children in our programs who shared with me that one of the hardest parts of what they face is judgment from teachers, peers, and others in their communities,” Fennelly said. “Sometimes people aren’t even aware that they react negatively once they rst learn that a student has a parent behind bars. But that child certainly can hear it and feel it.”

is article is part of our Next America: Criminal Justice project, which is supported by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to



Police "Reforms" You Should Always Oppose



Police “Reforms” You Should Always Oppose

BY Mariame Kaba (, Prison Culture PUBLISHED December 7, 2014

I read today that President Obama has o ered some measures ( rstread/obama-requests-263-million-police-bodycameras-training-n259161) for ‘reforming’ the police.



Police "Reforms" You Should Always Oppose

Here is a simple guide for evaluating any suggested ‘reforms’ of U.S. policing in this historical moment. 1. Are the proposed reforms allocating more money to the police? If yes, then you should oppose them. 2. Are the proposed reforms advocating for MORE police and policing (under euphemistic terms like ‘community policing’ run out of regular police districts)? If yes, then you should oppose them. 3. Are the proposed reforms primarily technologyfocused? If yes, then you should oppose them because: a. It means more money to the police. b. Said technology is more likely to be turned against the public than it is to be used against cops. c. Police violence won’t end through technological advances (no matter what someone is selling you). 4. Are the proposed ‘reforms’ focused on individual dialogues with individual cops? And will these ‘dialogues’ be funded with tax dollars? I am never against dialogue. It’s good to talk with people. These conversations, however, should not be funded by tax payer money. That money is better spent elsewhere. Additionally, violence is endemic to U.S. policing itself. There are some nice individual people who work in police departments. I’ve met some of them. But individual dialogue projects reinforce the “bad apples” theory of oppressive policing. This is not a problem of



Police "Reforms" You Should Always Oppose

individually terrible o

cers rather it is a problem of a

corrupt and oppressive policing system built on controlling & managing the marginalized while protecting property.

Never miss another story Get the news you want, delivered to your inbox every day.


What ‘reforms’ should you support (in the interim) then?



Police "Reforms" You Should Always Oppose

1. Proposals and legislation to offer reparations to victims of police violence and their families. 2. Proposals and legislation to require police officers to carry personal liability insurance to cover costs of brutality or death claims. 3. Proposals and legislation to decrease and redirect policing and prison funds to other social goods. 4. Proposals and legislation for (elected) independent civilian police accountability boards with power to investigate, discipline, fire police officers and administrators. 5. Proposals and legislation to disarm the police. 6. Proposals to simplify the process of dissolving existing police departments. 7. Proposals and legislation for data transparency (stops, arrests, budgeting, weapons, etc…)

Ultimately, the only way that we will address oppressive policing is to abolish the police. Therefore all of the ‘reforms’ that focus on strengthening the police or



Police "Reforms" You Should Always Oppose

“morphing” policing into something more invisible but still as deadly should be opposed.

The stakes have never been higher As attacks on women’s rights, health care, the environment and democracy intensify, we’re going to need truth-telling journalists more than ever. At Truthout, unlike most media, our journalism is free from government and corporate in uence and censorship. But this is only sustainable if we have your support. If you like what you’re reading or just value what we do, will you take a few seconds to contribute to our work?

  DONATE NOW (



Police "Reforms" You Should Always Oppose

Mariame Kaba ( Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator, and writer who lives in Chicago. Her work focuses on ending violence, dismantling the prison industrial complex, and supporting youth leadership development. She is the founder and director of Project NIA, a grassroots organization with a mission to end youth incarceration.



For Moms In Prison, Distance Can Hurt As Much As Time | HuffPost




For Moms In Prison, Distance Can Hurt As Much As Time At the holidays, a family visit program is a gift that plays a vital role in a changing approach to women in prison. By Kim Bellware 12/23/2016 07:27 pm ET

LINCOLN, Ill. ― On board a pair of buses making the nearly three-hour journey to central Illinois from Chicago a week before Christmas, everyone has a number. The passengers are bundles of sleepy children, some accompanied by grandparents, who offer up a “one,” “three,” maybe “four.” The numbers represent the months ― and in some cases years ― since they have seen their mothers at the Logan Correctional Center. Maria Moon has a number as well, and it’s specific: Three years and four months. That’s how long it’s been since she was at Logan, where she was incarcerated for 13 years.

Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter

Join HuffPost

“I always knew I’d be back,” Moon said. She was confident that her eventual return would be to create a positive change. “From the get go, I knew I’d be back here.”



For Moms In Prison, Distance Can Hurt As Much As Time | HuffPost

Moon now works with Cabrini Green Legal Aid, a Chicago group that helped organize the Reunification Ride program for the past year.

The rides help families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to travel to state prisons stay in contact with their loved ones. They have become a way to address the growing population of women, especially mothers, in prison and the need for programs that are more positive than punitive. Logan reflects this dramatic rise of women in prison, a population that is largely low-income black and Latino inmates, according to a comprehensive report by the Vera Institute of Justice and the Safety and Justice Challenge released this year. And nearly 80 percent of incarcerated women are mothers. Yet the budget for programs like the Reunification Ride is slim; in Illinois, a state budget impasse decimated programs that support families caught up in the justice system. The donor-funded Reunification Ride can schedule visits only as funds allow. For now, women’s prisons are the priority because they typically get fewer family visitors than do men’s prisons, where visits are often organized by female relatives, according to Cabrini Green Legal Aid. And with the paring down of state programs alongside the steadily growing female prisoner population, demand for bus seats is always greater than availability. At the same time, corrections officials increasingly recognize the value of fostering such family and community contact. Advocates like Moon note the visits help to promote the kind of healthy behaviors and patterns that the women will need to continue outside of prison. The pre-Christmas visit to Logan is the final one of the year and comes at a time many of the women say they’re reminded most of what they’ve lost and what they hope to regain when they’re released. John Baldwin, director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, has been encouraged by the Reunification Rides to Logan, especially in the context of the evolving correctional approach to women prisoners. “Women who have children go back to society in a different way,” Baldwin said. “We’re starting to be in the business of starting to teach life skills and reentry skills to all of our offenders.” Understanding that women in prison, particularly mothers, have different needs comes amid a broader shift from the one-size-fits-all approach that has failed female prisoners. The corrections system is designed around men, who comprise more than 90 percent of the U.S. prison population.



For Moms In Prison, Distance Can Hurt As Much As Time | HuffPost

Georgia Lerner, the executive director of the Women’s Prison Association, a nonprofit advocacy group, said something as innate as the way women communicate can work against them in prison. “Women tend to ask a lot of questions, which isn’t always valued in the carceral environment,” Lerner said. In men’s prisons, asking questions may signal defiance rather than a need for understanding. Baldwin noted that this tendency to ask “Why?” is reflected in a higher rate of women being punished more for minor offenses while behind bars. “For years, the prison system treated everyone exactly alike,” Baldwin said. “We [couldn’t] figure out why we were having uneven success.” “Women are, in prison terms at least, phenomenally more relational than men. That’s one of the key things the American Correctional Association has noticed in the past 20 years,” Baldwin added. “Women serve time differently than men. A lot of that has do with relationships and family structure and how they came to prison.” Men and women share several common risk factors for becoming imprisoned, including mental illness, family dysfunction and substance abuse. But even among parents, the factor of what Lerner calls “parental stress” primarily affects women. “Feeling stressed out that [mothers] can’t care for children’s economic needs, social needs and not feeling competent ― it’s not a criminogenic risk for men the way it is for women,” she said. “It’s important that we work with those women after their kids leave [the visits] and say, ‘What went right and what went wrong?’” Baldwin said. “We need to strengthen the ways to bring kids to this institution so they can have a positive interaction.” The women at Logan are sharply aware of how being a mother doubles the stigma they face. While men’s crimes are typically viewed independently of their status as a parent, society views women not only as criminals but also as bad moms. The moms attending the reunion appeared intent on fighting that negative perception. “When I’m here, it reminds me of what I need to focus on and what I have to go home to,” said Limari Siberon, who was visited by her young son and mother. As she watched her son color, Siberon held back tears thinking about the time she is missing with her son. “There’s no greater punishment than to be away from your child.”



For Moms In Prison, Distance Can Hurt As Much As Time | HuffPost

The December visit to Logan is the closest thing to a family Christmas that the families will have. They’ll pose for pictures with “Auntie Claus,” share a meal, decorate cookies and play

games. The moms can’t seem to give enough hugs and kisses as they fuss with their child’s hair or marvel at new braces and extra inches in height. The children are just as eager for their mom’s affection: Toddlers cling to their mothers and bury faces away from the noisy gymnasium while other children wiggle under their mom’s arm to be closer. Moon’s visit was a welcome surprise to the women who knew her from her time in Logan.

With her freedom, Moon works to help women who face the same long odds she does. She’s also earning her college degree and raising awareness about the ways communities can help women after prison ― who often struggle with housing, employment and health care because of their incarceration ― make good on their second chance. She opened her arms to embrace her friends and the children who were visiting from the Reunification Ride. She said seeing her friends both motivated her to keep making good decisions and to keep advocating on their behalf. She held out her arms to her friend Mishunda Davis, who is still serving her sentence, and called Davis one of her biggest inspirations. “Just because I’m here and incarcerated [doesn’t] mean that I’m nothing,” Davis said. “I can still teach. I can still encourage. I can still uplift, I can still do positive things getting ready to be released and help others out.”

Do you have information you want to share with HuffPost? Here’s how. BEFORE YOU GO


Prison Inmates Create Artistic Monuments 

See Gallery



For Moms In Prison, Distance Can Hurt As Much As Time | HuffPost

Kim Bellware  Reporter, HuffPost

Suggest a correction

MORE: Sociology


Vera Institute Of Justice

American Correctional Association


How To Entirely Empty Your Bowels Every Morning - Top Surgeon Explains How Gundry MD | Sponsored

The Best Way To Wipe Out Up To $10,000 Of Debt NerdWallet | Sponsored

Meet The Lipstick Made For Women Over 40 In Mind. Doesn't Feather or Accentuate Fine Lines Color The World Lipsticks | Sponsored

Affordable All-Inclusive Vacations That Are Simply Astonishing! Research Caribbean All Inclusive Vacation Packages Vacations | Sponsored

Most People Cannot Answer These 20 WW2 Question Correctly - Can You? Auto Overload | Sponsored


Rita Wilson Panics When Golden Globes Makeup Artist Is Late. Celebs Sympathize.

After Trauma, A Vet Finds Solace In Creation

Golden Globes 2020: Here Are All The Winners

Advertisement by USAA

Awkwafina Is First Asian Woman To Win Best Actress Golden Globe In Musical/Comedy Film

Ricky Gervais Says Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself, Drags Felicity Huffman At Golden Globes



For Moms In Prison, Distance Can Hurt As Much As Time | HuffPost


Teary Kate McKinnon Says She ‘Could Never Be On TV’ Without Ellen At Golden Globes

4 Cards Charging 0% Interest Until Nearly 2022

Intuitive Eating: What It Is, And Why It Could Work For You

2020 Golden Globes: These Were The Best-Dressed Celebrities On The Red Carpet

Advertisement by

Jonah Hill And Beanie Feldstein Are Siblings And People Are Wigging Out

Russell Wilson’s ‘Class’ Words To Eagles Coach Put Seahawks’ Win In Perspective

The Lowest Car Insurance in Wisconsin's History

Sacha Baron Cohen Burns Mark Zuckerberg At Golden Globes For Spreading ‘Nazi Propaganda’

Advertisement by SmartFinancial























Privacy dashboard

Part of HuffPost Politics. ©2020 Verizon Media. All rights reserved.



National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day Is Raising Money To Help Bail Out Incarcerated Black Women In Time For Mother’s Day

National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day Is Raising Money To Help Bail Out Incarcerated Black Women In Time For Mother’s Day By KYLI RODRIGUEZ-CAYRO

May 9, 2018


Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and while many of us will be spending the day with our moms, not everyone is so fortunate — especially women who will spend the day in jail because they don't have enough money to pay bail. This Mother’s Day, a second-year initiative is aiming to help as many Black families who have been directly affected by mass incarceration as they can. The National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day is raising money to help bail out incarcerated Black mothers, so they can be reunited with their children and families in the spirit of the upcoming holiday — and you can help them reach their goals.



National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day Is Raising Money To Help Bail Out Incarcerated Black Women In Time For Mother’s Day

The National Bail Out collective was established in May 2017 as a collaborative effort between many Black community organizers and organizations from across the states, including Southerners On New Ground (SONG), Black Lives Matter, The Dream Defenders, and more. According to their site, the goal of the National Bail Out is to “push against mass criminalization” by providing bail funds for Black community members who cannot afford to pay bail, and by providing additional financial support once they are released from jail.

Mass incarceration in the U.S. is a human rights issue that disproportionately affects Black communities. According to statistics from the Bureau of Justice, one in three Black men in the U.S. will spend some time in jail in their lifetime, and though The Sentencing Project reports the rate of imprisonment of Black women has decreased by nearly fifty percent between 2000 and 2014, Black women are still jailed at rates twice that of white women.

#FreeBlackMamas @NationalBailOut

Give to help reunite a Black mama with her children for #MothersDay: #BlackMamasBailOut

135 8:52 AM - May 9, 2018 94 people are talking about this



National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day Is Raising Money To Help Bail Out Incarcerated Black Women In Time For Mother’s Day

On top of this, The Atlantic reported in 2016 that approximately 60 percent of people in U.S. jails have yet to go to trial, and around nine in ten people remain incarcerated because they cannot afford to post bail. This means that even low-level offenses can wreak havoc on someone’s life if they cannot pay bail: People can lose their jobs, their homes, and spend months in jail before they even attend a sentencing hearing.

Enter National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day. According to National Bail Out, the goal of the initiative is to “give incarcerated mothers an opportunity to spend Mother’s Day with their families, and build community through gatherings that highlight the impact of inhumane and destructive bail practices on our communities.” Though how many mothers they are able to bail out is dependent on donations received, The National Bail Out collective hopes to reunite as many Black mothers with their children this Sunday.

Nnenna, ESQ. @theAfroLegalise

Good morning y’all !! We are heading to several counties in the DMV to bail some black women out. Here are some of the mamas we bailed out last year Please help by donating $20 #dmvbailout #EndMoneyBail #FreeBlackMamas



National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day Is Raising Money To Help Bail Out Incarcerated Black Women In Time For Mother’s Day

775 8:40 AM - May 9, 2018 704 people are talking about this

Since the donation program was created last May, the National Bail Out collective has raised close to one million dollars in donations from over 14,000 people — helping 188 people pay bail and return home to their families from May to September. Additionally, funds collected have also been used to provide housing, health care, substance use treatment, groceries, and other necessities to make the transition of returning home to their communities more manageable.


We just bailed out 2 more moms! They were in jail bc they were too poor to make bail but thanks to your generosity they can spend Mother’s Day with their kids. Not too late to donate: #FreeBlackMamas



National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day Is Raising Money To Help Bail Out Incarcerated Black Women In Time For Mother’s Day

820 7:26 PM - May 8, 2018 416 people are talking about this

If you want to support the National Black Mama’s Bail Out Day, there are a couple ways to do so. You can make a one-time donation directly to National Bail Out online. Or, if you want to contribute regularly to the project even once Mother’s Day is over, you can sign up for Appolition. The program links to your debit and credit cards, and sends spare change (rounded up to the nearest dollar) to National Bail Out. If you don’t have the financial ability to donate, you can post a status using the official hashtag, #FreeBlackMamas, on social media to spread the word to your network. It can really help make an incredible difference in a family's life.


The Washington Post

Raising babies behind bars A bold experiment in parenting and punishment is allowing children in prison. But is that a good thing?

From left, inmates Destiny Doud, LaTonya Jackson and Christine Duckwitz play with their daughters April 9 at Decatur Correctional Center in Illinois. The /

Moms and Babies program at the minimum-security prison allows some incarcerated women who give birth in custody to keep their newborn infants with them while they serve their sentences.

Story by Justin Jouvenal Photos by Whitney Curtis MAY 11, 2018

DECATUR, ILL. Destiny Doud thought she had just 48 hours to be a mother. Like most of the hundreds of pregnant women who give birth while serving time each year, Doud was slated to give up her newborn to a relative just days after the baby was born last May. Doud recalled hugging Jaelynn close at the hospital, waving off nurses’ offers to take the girl to the nursery. She wanted every minute to hold her daughter ahead of that wrenching separation. But just before handing off the baby to her own father, Doud learned she had qualified for a radical alternative. She could raise Jaelynn behind bars. /

On June 2, 2017, Doud cradled her newborn as she passed through a chain-link fence topped with razor wire, through heavy steel doors to a cell outfitted with a crib. A sign on the door reads: “Doud: Y21214 Baby: Jaelynn.” The Decatur Correctional Center is the only home the girl with wispy blond hair and ice-blue eyes has known in her 11 months. Prison nursery programs remain rare nationwide, but eight facilities in as many states have opened them amid dramatic growth in the number of incarcerated women. The bold experiment in punishment and parenting has touched off a fierce debate. Advocates say the programs allow mothers to forge a crucial early bond with children, creating healthier kids and a spur for mothers to improve their lives. Detractors say prison is no environment for children and that the /

programs may simply put off an inevitable split between many children and their mothers, making it that much more painful. Doud and Jaelynn are among dozens of test cases.

“ She reminds me that I have something that’s great now. Something to live for.” — Destiny Doud about her daughter, Jaelynn

Doud faces a daunting road back to routine family life. At 21, she is serving a 12-year sentence for bringing methamphetamine across the Illinois state line. She is trying to tame a drug addiction and figure out a career with only a high school diploma. She’s allowed to send Jaelynn’s father baby photos, but he too is in prison. Still, she said the program has given her fledging family a lifeline — one she /

intends to seize. Doud, whose own mother was in and out of jail when she was a child, said she is determined to make sure a third generation of her family does not end up incarcerated. “She reminds me that I have something that’s great now,” Doud said, smiling at Jaelynn in Decatur’s nursery. “Something to live for.”

LaTonya Jackson gave birth in prison and is now raising her baby, Olivia, while serving out her sentence.

LEFT: Destiny Doud, center, feeds her 10-month-old daughter, Jaelynn Purcell, while she eats with LaTonya Jackson. RIGHT: From left, case worker Sue Urish and inmates LaTonya Jackson, with her 5month-old daughter, Olivia Walton; Michelle Neaveill, with her 3-month-old son, Dalton Neaveill; Destiny Doud, with her 10-month-old daughter, Jaelynn Purcell; and Christine Duckwitz, with her 2-month-old daughter, Isabelle Mansker, read together.

Babies behind bars At the end of a hallway on a special wing, the drab, institutional walls of this minimum-security facility erupt in a riot of colorful murals: Children play on a jungle gym, a bright sun beats down on a church, and a yellow school bus chugs along. Hand-drawn portraits of children hang nearby, and tiny handprints climb up a column at the center of a large room. /

Infants giggle, slumber in their mother’s arms and strain to turn over in play gyms. It’s easy to mistake for a day care — that is, until the uniformed prison guards begin their rounds. Welcome to the “Moms and Babies” program. Six women and their infants, ages newborn to 11 months, live in the unit, which is segregated from the prison’s general population. Each pair’s home is a typical cell, specially outfitted with cribs, changing tables and additional lively murals. Decatur’s warden, Shelith Hansbro, said the cells are not barred and women are not handcuffed on the wing because it can distress the children, even as young as they are. Still, security remains paramount. Cameras are perched above each crib. The prison doesn’t house sex offenders. And when a child is taken outside the nursery unit, all prisoners are ordered to stop moving about the facility and remain where they are. The children /

can play outdoors in a prison yard retrofitted with a jungle gym. There are strict criteria for selecting participants. The women must have only nonviolent offenses on their records and typically have sentences that are two years or less, so mother and child never have to be separated and the children’s time in prison is limited to their earliest years. Though Doud’s sentence is longer than most women in the program, she could qualify to serve some of that in a residential drug treatment center.

The handprints of incarcerated mothers and their children's footprints adorn the walls at Decatur Correctional Center.

There are counselors and a child aide to help the mothers, and other inmates at the facility serve as day-care workers so the women can attend classes to get GEDs, improve life skills, and receive drug and alcohol counseling. Hansbro said the approach is compassionate, but also tough. “We tell them we are going to be up in your business,” Hansbro said. “We are going to be telling you things about how /

to raise your child that you might disagree with.” On a Monday morning in April, Doud and the other moms gathered in a circle with their babies perched on their prison-issued blue scrubs. Led by a volunteer, each took turns reading passages from “The Velveteen Rabbit.” Christine Duckwitz, 30, cradled 2month-old Isabelle and turned the pages. The mother from rural Illinois was caught with heroin last year. Isabelle’s father overdosed and died on Christmas Eve, just a month before the girl was born. LaTonya Jackson, 38, read to 5-monthold Olivia, who was decked out in a Minnie Mouse outfit, with a black bow on her head. The girl’s brother, the eldest of eight, was gunned down in a drug deal turned robbery in St. Louis soon after Jackson arrived at Decatur for a theft conviction. Such turmoil is common in the lives of the women, Hansbro said. Things as simple as reading books to children sometimes fall by the wayside. Other mothers have never had such /

rudimentary parenting themselves, so the program begins with the basics. “We have found that if there is going to be anything that keeps women from reoffending, it’s going to be their bonds with their children,” Hansbro said. “If we expect them to be successful, we need them to give them those tools they need to be successful.” The reading session ended with the volunteer asking the women what the moral of the story was. “What’s the lesson?” the woman asked. “That love makes you real?” As the women answered and talked, Jaelynn tottered off unsteadily and grabbed a ball, before plopping over. Some of the women burst into laughter. Jaelynn had taken her first steps that week. “She can barely walk, but she thinks she can run,” Doud said proudly.

LEFT: Destiny Doud poses for a portrait with Jaelynn in her cell. RIGHT: Christine Duckwitz holds her 2month-old daughter, Isabelle Mansker.

The bust


In October 2016, Doud and her boyfriend were speeding down an Illinois highway with 104 grams of methamphetamine they planned to sell. She noticed police cars streaming toward them in the oncoming lanes. “Right then, I knew we were going to prison,” Doud said. “I told my boyfriend, ‘I love you; I’ll miss you.’ ” Doud and Jaelynn’s soon-to-be father were charged with meth trafficking, the result of a drug habit that spiraled out of control. Doud’s situation soon grew more desperate. She said she woke in the middle of the night, sick to her stomach, nine days after her arrest. The jail nurse gave her a pregnancy test. Doud was stunned by the results. “She said, ‘Congratulations!’ ” Doud said. “I was like, ‘No, this is not positive. I’m going to prison.’ ” There are no current figures for how many women give birth while incarcerated, but the growth in prison nurseries is playing out against the backdrop of a massive increase in /

incarcerated women in recent decades, including mothers. The number of women behind bars increased more than 700 percent between 1980 and 2016, from roughly 26,000 to nearly 214,000, according to the Sentencing Project. The growth outpaced the increase in male incarceration by roughly 50 percent. The latest statistics on parents in prison are from 2007, but the Justice Department reported a 122 percent increase in mothers in state and federal prison between 1991 and that year. Nearly 1.7 million children had a parent behind bars. Some experts attribute the increase in women’s incarceration, in both jail and prison, to spiking drug arrests and an emphasis in some areas on aggressive enforcement of minor offenses such as theft and public drunkenness. [Officials from both parties say too many women are incarcerated for low-level crimes] The trends have pushed officials and reformers to focus on mass /

incarceration’s impact on women and children, as then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch put it in 2016: “When we incarcerate a woman, we often are truly incarcerating a family.� A number of states have done away with the common practice of shackling pregnant women during childbirth, while others have moved to require prisons to have medical plans, proper nutrition and other basics available for pregnant women. Prison nurseries are one of the most progressive approaches. But not everyone is on board. Some advocates for female prisoners argue mothers with low-level offenses should be allowed to raise their children in less restrictive settings. On the other side, James Dwyer, a professor of law at William & Mary who focuses on children and family issues, said many of the mothers are not good long-term prospects as parents, that prisons are dangerous and unstimulating for children, and that it may even be unconstitutional to place a /

child in prison when no crime has been committed. He said the programs also don’t take a considered approach to making hard decisions about what’s best for children in challenging family situations. “There is no involvement of child protective services or juvenile court,” Dwyer said. “You just have prison wardens or their delegates deciding that a kid should enter into a prison without making any best-interest determination.”

Moms and Babies program participants have access to playground equipment at Decatur Correctional Center.

‘We all we got’ Doud eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of meth delivery. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison but is eligible for parole as soon as 2022. Jaelynn’s father got a lengthy sentence for meth trafficking. Jaelynn was born on May 30. Doud said getting into the prison nursery program was a relief, but she was also /

anxious as she headed to Decatur: What effect would prison have on Jaelynn? When she arrived, she said the other women in the program had decorated her cell and made her a gift package of diapers, wipes and lotion. “It was like my own baby shower,� Doud said. Doud and the other women said they believe their children are better off with them in prison and that their children have not suffered adverse effects behind bars. But there are challenges. There are no trips to grandmother’s house, no outings to the zoo or story time at the library. The children are allowed to leave the prison only to attend pediatrician appointments, although family members can make weekly visits to the facility. Jackson said she recalled taking Olivia into the prison yard one day and the girl tasting the air, as if it were something new and strange.


The women have forged their own patchwork family and spend a lot of time trading parenting stories, tips and jokes in the center of the nursery. As someone scrawled on a post: “We all we got.” Largely cut off from friends and family, Doud said those connections are especially important for her, as a firsttime mom. She said she has a neverending stream of questions: When would Jaelynn’s teeth come in? How do you treat diaper rash? Duckwitz, who has three other children on the outside, said the program helps women “learn how to be a good mom — an opportunity they wouldn’t have on the outside.”

Christine Duckwitz holds her daughter Isabelle inside her room at Decatur Correctional Center. Duckwitz called the program an opportunity for women to learn how to be a good mom. It is an opportunity she wouldn't have on the outside.

Doud is taking every class she can at Decatur and has remained sober. In January, Jaelynn watched as Doud graduated from her substance-abuse class. Doud said Jaelynn also appears to be hitting her development marks, even reaching many early.


Because Doud has a longer sentence than most women in the program, she is hoping she will be permitted to finish the last two years at a residential drug treatment program in Chicago. Jaelynn could live with her. More than 90 women have gone through the Moms and Babies program in 11 years, and only two have returned to prison within three years of release, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. Only two women have been removed from the program. Research on prison nursery programs is limited, but some studies show similar promise. One found that a group of preschool-age children who were raised in prison nurseries were less anxious and depressed than a control group of children who were separated from their incarcerated mothers in the early years. Another concluded the recidivism rate of mothers who participated in prison nursery programs was only 4 percent. Doud and Jaelynn still have a long way to go before becoming one of these positive statistics, but Doud’s father said he’s noticed a change in his /

daughter. He is cautiously optimistic for them. “In the long run, this might be the best thing that happened to her,” James McQuinn said. “It got her out of her life.”

Credits: Story by Justin Jouvenal. Photos by Whitney Curtis. Video by Zoeann Murphy. Designed by Clare Ramirez. Photo Editing by Mark Miller.