Women Serving Lengthy Prison Sentences Rally For Justice

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A new advocacy group Womenoverincarcerated.org (WOI.org), kicks off its "Enough is Enough: End Mass Incarceration" campaign.

A group of female federal prisoners in Danbury, Connecticut have taken a stand against mass incarceration and discrimination within the U.S. judicial system, rallying supporters to step up and create change. Out of their efforts a new advocacy group, WomenOverIncarcerated.org (WOI.org), kicks off its “Enough is Enough: End Mass Incarceration” Campaign.

The organization is rallying for alternatives to lengthy sentences for nonviolent federal prisoners, urging supporters to sign an online petition at http://www.womenoverincarcerated.org requesting Congress to reinstate federal parole. Last fall, after fellow prisoner Jamila T. Davis received a letter of support for fairness in the justice system, regardless of race, gender or income level, from U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings, a group of white collar offenders housed at the Danbury Federal Prison Camp For Women (featured in the hit show “Orange Is The New Black”), initiated a sentencing disparity study in collaboration with Cultural QuantiX.

This study revealed that these women received 300% harsher sentences than affluent white males who committed the same or similar white collar crimes. The number was a shocking 480% for African American females! (View this study at http://www.womenoverincarcerated.org) This past winter the study’s results puzzled senior law students at Harvard University, who attended a forum conducted by Professor Charles Ogletree. Panelist included former Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson, who was released from the Danbury Federal Prison Camp last fall, and Robert Brass, President of Cultural QuantiX.

Both panelist shared with students the results of the study and the injustices these female prisoners encountered in the system. Many of the students were amazed by the significantly longer sentences that these females received compared to male offenders, some even co-defendants in the same case. Delighted by the attention that their study received, this group of female prisoners pulled together their outside contacts and resources to create WomenOverIncarcerated.org. It was created to bring awareness to the alarming rise of incarcerated female offenders, the lengthy sentences they are serving and its effect on society, and the injustices women face in the U.S. judicial system.

To correct these injustices, WOI.org is advocating for alternatives to lengthy prison sentences for nonviolent offenders. The organization is urging Congress to reinstate federal parole. Unlike most state offenders, some of which serve less than 1/3 of their time, because of the absence of parole all federal prisoners serve 85% of their time, with no recourse. Consequently, the federal prison system is close to 40% over capacity and tax payers are spending exuberant amounts to house nonviolent offenders.

WOI.org’s call to action is that supporters of change sign their online petition at http://www.womenoverincarcerated.org, in an effort to reunite families. Determined to change the common misconceptions and images of women behind bars, Danbury prisoners came together to create the 2014 WomenOverIncarcerated.org calendar. Each month features a different woman’s story. All of the women featured are serving lengthy sentences in federal prison. Two of them are serving life sentences for nonviolent offenses. The cost of incarceration to tax payers, the faces, backgrounds and stories of these women (many of which are first time offenders) have astounded viewers. (Go to http://www.womenoverincarcerated.org to view these images).

“It was important to me to help create a platform where women could share their stories. After writing my book ‘The High Price I Had To Pay,’ (available as a free eBook at http://www.voicesbooks.com) based on my own case, I realized that the American people have no clue who we are and the type of sentences we are serving,” stated Jamila T. Davis, a 36 years old federal inmate/author serving a 12 1/2 year sentence for allegedly victimizing the now defunct Lehman Brothers Bank. “While not one Wall Street banker is serving time for the events that spiraled the 2008 financial crisis, ‘small fries’ like myself are serving big time! Many of us are women. In my case, I received a 7 times greater sentence than the two white males, a seasoned lawyer and banker, who instructed me on what to do. I felt my sentence was totally unjust, so I decided to speak out,” Davis stated.

“The results in our study speak for itself. Not only are we punished for the crimes that we committed, I feel we are also punished for entering the so-called ‘man’s’ world of business. Our President, policy makers and judges should correct the unfair sentencing practices women encounter in the U.S. judicial system. If not, our whole society will be negatively effected,” states Linda Tribby, a 45 year old federal prisoner serving a 7 year sentence for bank fraud. With the shocking statistics to support their claims and a group of supporters to back them up, these women are determined to make a difference! They are asking for supporters of equality and justice to visit http://www.womenoverincarcerated.org to purchase their calendar and sign the online petition urging Congress to reinstate parole.

Click here to view the official website: http://www.womenOverincarcerated.org

Contact: Liddie M. Davis 718-341-8044

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Liddie Davis
since: 04/2013
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