Raising Women’s Voices

WORTH works toward governor’s signature on Anti-Shackling Bill: You can help!!

Posted in Maternity Care, Reproductive Health Care, State Reform by raisingwomensvoices on June 24, 2009

Raising Women’s Voices wants to give a shout-out to Tina Reynolds from Women on the Rise Telling HerStory (WORTH), an advocacy and consulting group of formerly and currently incarcerated women working toward mutual support, leadership development, fighting public stigma about women in prison, and working to change public policy. Tina and WORTH have been instrumental in getting S.1290-A/A.3373-A through both houses of the state legislature. This bill forbids the use of restraints on incarcerated women during labor and post-delivery recovery and restricts the use of restraints during transport to and from the hospital. This violation of international human rights standards doesn’t have a place in the great state of New York.

Tina spoke at our Raising Women’s Voices Speak-out in April, bringing stories of incarcerated women and the challenges they face in getting fair, comprehensive health care. You can make a difference by signing on to the letter being sent to Governor Paterson urging him to sign the bill into law, or writing your own letter to send to the state house. Please contact treynolds@womenontherise.org to sign on. You can also fax to 212-473-2807 or mail a letter to: Women in Prison Project/Correctional Association of New York, 2090 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. Suite 200, New York, New York 10027. It’s easy and great – please make your voice heard!

One Response

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  1. bamafanonly said, on July 14, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Just wanted to share a brief piece:
    10 years ago I was 6 weeks pregnant and sentenced to 150 months (12 1/2 years) in Federal Prison on a Drug Conspiracy charge. I was told by the pretrial officer that even though this was my first offense, I would most likely be allowed 12 hours with my baby when he was born and would be shackled, due to the length of my sentence, during the birth. Thank God that I had a Case Mngr. that fought tooth and nail for me and I was entered into the MINT Program. (Mothers and Infants Together). As I researched this program and the Justice system, I realized that I was one of the first Female Inmates with a sentence over 10 years to be accepted into this program. As soon as I gave birth and got to spend 3 months with my son, take him home to be placed, self reported (again) to the Federal Facility, my sentence was reduced to 5 years thanks to a co-defendent. What if I had been catoragized as the ‘MONSTER’, ‘BAD PERSON’ etc… society is so convinced we are? I would not have had the results with my beautiful son that I had. He is much better today at 10, I truly believe, because he got that binding time with me.
    Now, let me tell you what one piece of hope can do for a person who has ultimately lost all hope. In the 5 years that I did not see him, my ultimate goal was to better his life than the way it began. I earned 2 business degrees while incarcerated, 48 self help certificates and awards, self worth that I had never had, and went through pretrial, 5 years in prison, 3 years parole worked 3 jobs after my release and rode the City Transit system to all 3 jobs, never late, met all meeting requirements-never late and all throughout this process I never recieved a negative mark on my record. I vowed that it I got a second chance and a little hope I would never let him feel the pain I felt for the way I brought him into this world.
    Today, 5 years after my release, I’m close to a six figure income and have full custody of a well adjusted son. He is 10 now.
    All women and men in prison aren’t what society has envisioned. A conspiracy charge is the charge they don’t have to prove, although, in my case, I wasn’t innocent in that my lifestyle was not one of a good contributing member of society. I was messed up, addicted and was being swallowed up by a lifestyle that I truly didn’t know how to get away from. But, I was raised in a good and nurturing home and once I had the skills to adjust and love life without the drugs again, my true self came out and I earned enough college credits for 2 associates degress and became a certified parallegal while incarcerated and now earn just under a 6 figure income and that is due to being comfortable with placing him comfortably and bonding with my son, so that I could get ME better so that HE could be better in life. Going to prison was the 2nd chance I needed to get back on track.
    So, please, before anyone puts all inmates who are pregnant in prison, ask yourself one question? How would you want it to be for your daughter if by some crazy chance it happened to them? That’s the question my dad asked himself when he was hit with the fact that his only daughter was going to prison-pregnant with his grandchild! Think about what hope and prayer could do for them!

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