Substance Abuse

JS Blog Post May 11, 2015

They took her child away

Sharda Sekaran

Dear Patricia,


You won’t believe the story of Shona Banda. Let me tell you, I didn’t at first.
Shona lives in Kansas and uses medical marijuana to treat her Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition that causes her debilitating pain. Medical marijuana is the only treatment that relieves her symptoms.


Last month, her 11-year-old was forced to sit through a long D.A.R.E. propaganda seminar, where he was told marijuana has no medical benefit — completely contrary to established science. So he spoke up. He made it known to his classmates that medical marijuana was helping his mother battle a debilitating disease. What happened next is terrifying.

The school called the police, who then held and questioned him at school. Then Shona’s house was searched, her medicine seized, and her son was taken away.

This all happened in Kansas, just one state over from Colorado, where marijuana is legally bought and sold every day. We cannot let this stand.

Please TAKE ACTION! Follow the link below:

http://stand-with-shona.action.drugpolicy.org/?source=1F5ZZZZZZZ4/#primary_form

Sign the petition to the county attorney keeping Shona from her son – tell her to drop the case immediately! Read more »

JS Blog Post February 10, 2015

Washington’s Parenting Sentencing Alternative: A strengths-based approach to supervision

Susie Leavell, Program Administrator, Washington State Department of Corrections

A sentencing alternative for parents in Washington State is showing great potential for reducing the rate at which parents return to prison after successfully completing the program. In 2010, the state Legislature passed the Parenting Sentencing Alternative, which has two components that allow parents of minor children to either avoid prison or to transfer early from prison onto electronic monitoring at home to parent. The Family and Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA) is a judicial sentencing option where judges can waive a sentence within the standard range and impose 12 months of community custody along with conditions for treatment and programming for eligible offenders who otherwise face a prison sentence. The other, called the Community Parenting Alternative (CPA), is a prison-based option that allows the Department of Corrections to transfer an offender home on electronic monitoring for up to the last 12 months of his or her prison sentence in order to parent.  Read more »

JS Blog Post January 28, 2015

Fourth post - Hill Briefing on Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the USA - Wednesday, September 4, 2014, Washington, D.C.

Patricia Allard

Glenn Martin is a criminal justice reform advocate and founder of JustLeadership USA. Glenn addresses the reasons why we need to focus our efforts on decarceration. "I've seen it [decarceration] work, and because I've seen the damage prison causes individuals, families and entire communities."

JS Blog Post January 12, 2015

Second post - Hill Briefing on Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the USA - Wednesday, September 4, 2014, Washington, D.C.

Patricia Allard

Charles Dalton Telschow performed a moving spoken word piece on September 4, 2014 during the Hill Briefing about prioritizing the needs of children of incarcerated parents. This original piece speaks volumes about the devastating impact of mass incarceration. Stay tuned for more presentations.
 

JS Blog Post December 10, 2014

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

Patricia Allard

We're please to bring you a series of 5 video-blog posts from a Hill Briefing - Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the United States - held in the fall of 2014. The briefing was designed to explore how the family integrity needs of children can be addressed at their parent's sentencing hearing. In this post Pamela Clifton, Communications Coordinator for the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, discusses the damaged the criminal justice system brought in her life and the lives of her children, and how her situation and that of many others could be better addressed without the use of prison terms.

JS Blog Post August 25, 2014

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

Patricia Allard

Hill Briefing

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Hosts

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

 

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

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

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

Where: Rayburn Building Room 2253

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

JS Blog Post August 21, 2014

United Nations Hears About the Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children

Patricia Allard

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

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

JS Blog Post August 8, 2014

United States Government on the Hot Seat for the Detrimental Impact on Children of Parental Incarceration

Patricia Allard
 
The United States Government is under review at the 85th session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The Committee is being asked to seriously consider: What can the United States Government do to address the psychological, emotional and physical needs of Indigenous, African-American and Latino children who face parental incarceration? As a member of civil society, Justice Strategies offers the following two suggestions as an opportunity for the Unites States government to honor the needs of children.
JS Blog Post July 15, 2014

FREE HER Rally

Patricia Allard

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

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

JS Blog Post June 15, 2014

The Spark of Resistance Ignited

Tina Reynolds

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

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