Boston, MA (PRWEB) June 04, 2014
Families for Justice as Healing is mobilizing concerned individuals and organizations from across the country to converge on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in support of an end to mass incarceration. The FREE HER Rally will assemble at the Sylvan Theater on the National Mall, Independence Avenue & 15th, on Saturday, June 21, 2014 from 10:00 am-2:00 pm.
Women, families and supporters will come together from across the nation, uniting to speak with one voice, to raise awareness of the devastating impact of overly harsh drug sentencing policies and the direct impact on communities of mass incarceration and the war on drugs. The objectives of the rally are:
1. To raise awareness of the alarming increase in the rate of incarceration of women in the United States and its impact on our children and communities.
2. To demand an end to voter disenfranchisement for people with felony convictions and to encourage the passing of the Smarter Sentencing Act.
3. To ask President Obama to commute the sentences of women and men in the federal system who have applied for commutations.
“On April 23, 2014, the Justice Department announced President Obama’s intention to commute the sentences of eligible people serving federal non-violent sentences,” says Andrea James, founder and director of Families for Justice as Healing. “Now is more important than ever to stand together and join our voices as one to encourage the President to commute the sentences of women serving non-violent sentences. Allow them to return to their children and communities.”
Between 1980 and 2010, the number of women in prison increased by 646% overall, with a disproportionate impact on women of color. Black women are incarcerated at nearly 3 times the rate of white women, and Hispanic women are incarcerated at 1.6 times the rate of white women. Most incarcerated women are imprisoned for non-violent drug and property crimes, with many women charged and convicted of conspiracy and other related counts, even though they had minimal or no involvement in the offenses that led to their arrests.
Incarcerated women have unique health and safety issues, which prisons are often unprepared to address appropriately, according to Families for Justice as Healing. Women swept into the prison system disproportionately suffer from abuse and sexual violence. They are particularly vulnerable to being re-traumatized by strip searches, solitary confinement, and staff sexual misconduct. Prisons and jails also often fail to handle reproductive needs appropriately, providing inadequate prenatal and abortion care. Pregnant women are often subjected to dangerous, demeaning, and unnecessary shackling during labor and delivery.
Locally hosted by the D.C. Office of Returning Citizen Affairs, the rally will include organizations, speakers, and individual participants from around the country. Other participating organizations include Alpha Kappa Alpha, ACLU of Washington, D.C., Boston Feminists for Liberation, Free Marissa Alexander Movement, the Fully Informed Jury Association, Institute of the Black World, Mommie Activist, Mothers in Charge, Pittsburgh Northside Residents Coalition, and Women Who Never Give Up.
After the June rally, the FREE HER campaign will continue on, with participants calling, emailing and sending postcards to encourage the President and to raise awareness among everyday people of the need to end the war on drugs and mass incarceration of women.
About Families for Justice as Healing:
Families for Justice as Healing is a criminal justice reform, legislative advocacy organization. At Families for Justice as Healing, we organize formerly incarcerated women to join the movement toward creating community wellness alternatives to incarceration, to heal and rebuild families and communities. Our membership advocates a shift away from expansion of the prison system and toward creation of community wellness alternatives to incarceration. We seek public health alternatives to current U.S. drug policies and legislation that focus on criminalization, the war on drugs and mass incarceration.