Saturday, January 10, 2015

Women in Prison: The Forgotten Ones

Women's HerStory 365days

Revolutionary Greetings to you all,

Hope this message find you all in good health and good spirits...As we/I honor Her Story, and the many contributions of Mothers of all Civilization allow me to personally give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon me through out my life journey. I cannot thank the Creator enough for the many contributions, blessings and inspiration from some of my HerStoric women like My Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Queen Yaa Asantewaa, Queen Nzinga, Queen Hatshepsut, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Cicely Tyson, Maya Angelo, Ida B.Wells, QueenMother Moore, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Elaine Brown, Kathleen Cleaver, Fannie Lou Hamer, Jill Scott, Amina Baraka, Ramona Africa, Pam Africa, and my President-General Empress Chi of the Herstoric Million Woman Universal Movement, the largest gathering of Black Women, or of any women anywhere in the world.

As the popularity of women's history celebrations continues to spread as more people are becoming aware of the contributions of women and girls worldwide. It is my duty to uplift and raise awareness of the contributions made by BLACK WOMEN. The Million Woman Movement cadre of women of African descent will not allow our history to be ignored or erased out of history. As a proud member of MWM, I will by all means do whatever it takes to uplifted and share the great stories of the many contributions made by women, particularly of African descent past and present. So I challenge you as you read this message, do some research and study these GREAT POWERFUL WOMEN LEGACY that history has very much ignored. A message to our sistahz, if we don't write about, study and honor OUR STORY. Who will?? We are a reflection of each other. Sistahood is POWERFUL!!! Today, Yesterday and Forever more.....Now on to the topic I wish to cover for the newsletter, Women in Prison: The Forgotten Ones.

As a formerly incarcerated female, I would betray my sistahz left behind bars if I didn't expose the plights faced while being incarcerated. While it is known that the prison population is predominately male. WOMEN is the fastest growing population going to prison the number of female prisoners has risen more than 800% in the last three decades, outpacing the 400% increase in the male prison population during the same time period. According to the Institute on Women and Criminal Justice report, “ Hard Hit: The growth in the Imprisonment of Women, 1977-2004, in 1977, the United States imprisoned 10 out of every 100,000 women, while in 2004 that number had increased to 64 out of 100,000. And because women are the caretakers, particularly of children. Mothers in prison, Children and families are in serious crisis.

After the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movements, Mass Incarceration and the War on Drugs went into full force during the 1970s and 1980's, lower income and communities of color began to be policed more heavily as a way of neutralizing and preventing people from getting or staying organized. The War on Drugs which focus wasn't on everybody. There were specific images, like the Black Women on crack and her crack babies. Women who tend to be less nonviolent offenders, a large factor in the increase in prison has been because of the mandatory minimum drug laws, which was seen as a get tough on crime measure during the war of drugs. The Rockefeller Drug laws mandated that first time offenders for drugs got mandatory sentences. I can contest to that because for my first offense I was sent to prison because it was mandatory, no plea bargain or drug court was available to me at that time, during 1994. The Rockefeller Drug laws affected women who were at the wrong place at the wrong time with their boyfriends, in their cars or homes, they end up getting charged also if large quantity of drugs are found in both possession. Black and Latino women were disproportionately affected by these draconian laws, as white women tended to have greater access to drug treatment centers and better legal representation. Women are usually the lower level player in drug deals. Poverty is a factor in the rise of women being imprisoned, because we resort to criminalized means for survival, especially if we have to make ends meet in a single mother home. Welfare and these lower paying jobs just wasn't good enough. During the Clinton Administration, Welfare Reform had a affect of women, they were removed off welfare and found themselves entering prison at a alarming rate. Much of what I know about women pathway to crime and prison has to do with trauma from domestic abuse, addiction, unhealthy relationships, mental illness and being involved in a crime with their men. For crime like shoplifting, petty drug dealing and addiction are the driving force as to why women commit these kinds of crimes over and over again, going to jail or prison fail to address the root causes that led to incarceration. Most of these things are symptons of a dysfunctional family, poverty, lack of opportunities, inadequate education, sexual n mental abuse and lack of rehabiliatation. These symptons are happening inside and outside of prison walls. We must do all we can as women to raise awareness, to seek and provide SOLUTIONS to these issues that affect women, especially women of African descent because we are underrepresented in society. We must put an end and find ALTERNATIVES TO MOTHERS IN PRISON. MOTHER IN PRISON, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN CRISIS. END MASS INCARCERATION FOR NONVIOLENT OFFENDERS, STOP THE SHACKLING OF PREGNANT WOMEN, WE WANT ADEQUATE HEALTHCARE FOR WOMEN NOW, STOP THE SEXUAL/MENTAL ABUSE OF WOMEN BEHIND BARS, RESTORE HUMAN RIGHTS TO ALL CITIZENS RETURNING HOME. Up Ye Mighty Women acomplish what you can!!! We all must BOYCOTT CRIME and put a end to this PRISON INDUSTRALIZED COMPLEX , a system racking in BILLIONS on our ignorance. We can do it.

In the Struggle,
Munirah El-Bomani


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