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Archive for the ‘Victoria Law’

Revisiting Reentry

January 07, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Family, Politics, Victoria Law

New Books Explore the Challenges of Coming Home from Prison

by Victoria Law

“Reno hadn’t wanted to stay in prison, but she wasn’t ready for the streets. Wasn’t half the way she remembered.” — Sin Soracco, Edge City

California’s prison system has continually made news this past year. Over 30,000 people rocked its prison system with a mass hunger strike that lasted nearly 60 days.  News about coerced sterilizations in its women’s prisons shocked and outraged prisoner rights and reproductive justice activists, leading to legislative hearings. At least two prison sites were found to be toxic. People sentenced under California’s Three Strikes continue to languish in prison and the numbers of prisoners aged 55 or older have increased by over 500% between 1990 and 2009. To top it off, Governor Brown continues to resist the 2011 Supreme Court order to decrease prison overcrowding.  (more…)

Unpleasant Truths

October 17, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Victoria Law

Following Hunger Strikes, California Reconsiders Solitary Confinement

by Victoria Law

“Tell us the truth, even if it’s not pleasant,” State Assembly member Tom Ammiano told California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials, advocates, formerly incarcerated people and family members.

On Wednesday, October 9, the California legislature’s Public Safety Committee held the first of several hearings about the use of solitary confinement in California’s prisons. These hearings were prompted by a 60-day hunger strike that rocked California’s prison system this past summer.

On July 8, 2013, over 30,000 people incarcerated throughout California refused meals. Hunger strikers issued five core demands: (more…)

Closing Cages

March 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Politics, Victoria Law

People Power Helps Stop Youth Incarceration

by Victoria Law

While Illinois is closing two youth prisons as a cost-cutting measure, other states are not. Washington State’s King County recently passed a $210 million renovation and expansion of its youth jail. Undeterred, activists work to halt the jail. In Baltimore, organizing against a youth jail proves that popular disapproval can derail supposedly done deals.

With the number of youth behind bars at an all-time low — dropping 41 percent from 107,000 in 1995 to under 71,000 in 2010 — are more youth jails really necessary? Research has shown that community-based programs that keep youth connected to their families are more likely to succeed than jails or prisons. So when Dede Adhanom learned that King County was proposing to renovate and expand its current youth jail in Seattle’s Central District, she was outraged.

On April 5, 2012, King County Council members held a public meeting at Seattle University to introduce Proposition 1, a $210 million tax levy to renovate the dilapidated King County Youth Services Center to include a youth detention center with 154 dorms as well as ten family courtrooms. “It was at 1 PM. A lot of people can’t make 1 PM meetings unless they work at a job that pays them to be there,” Adhanom noted. Undeterred, she and several others attended. “We shouted them out of there. That they’re having the public meeting at 1 PM shows their intentions.” (more…)

Scrambling for Relief

January 15, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Current Events, Victoria Law

Community Leads Its Own Efforts in the Rockaways

by Victoria Law

Months before Sandy devastated the Rockaways, tragedy had already struck Rockaway resident Sharon Plummer. While bicycling home from the corner store, Plummer’s 18-year-old son Shawn was caught in crossfire on Beach 29 Street and Seagirt Avenue. He died before reaching the hospital.

“The community was there for me,” Plummer recalled in a phone interview with Truthout. Two days after Sandy, Plummer was there for her community. In the parking lot of a laundromat on Cedar Boulevard, she set up Rockaway Guardians In Memory of Shawn Plummer, a distribution center, giving out water, canned goods, toiletries and baby supplies to hundreds of people each day.

Other residents joined the effort. Rudolph McBeam lives a block from the laundromat. “I just walked over there,” he told Truthout. “There were two other persons. We set up some tables and began to give out things to the public.” Although he has lived in the area for 15 years and has helped set up music festivals on the beach,  “This is my first time being involved with something like this,” said McBeam. (more…)

Care Work

December 14, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Family, Politics, Victoria Law

Rediscovering the Power and Utility of Selma James

by Victoria Law 

In 2002, when my daughter was a toddler, I joined a fledgling group called M*A*M*A (Mothers’ Association for Militant Action). We were mothers who felt pushed out of political organizing because we came with children and the additional needs that children bring. selma_james_sexraceclassWe attempted to challenge the idea that once a woman becomes a mother, she can no longer be politically involved. We quickly realized that, in order for us to organize, we needed childcare for our very young (and, in one case, developmentally delayed) children.

Our requests for childcare were usually dismissed. When we brought our children to meetings and events, we were given the evil eye, if not verbally chastised, when our children made noise. Now, ten years later, childcare is still not the norm although it is offered at certain conferences and events. (more…)

Unshackling Childbirth

September 14, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Angola 3 News, Family, Politics, Victoria Law

An Interview with Tina Reynolds and Victoria Law

by Angola 3 News

A bill opposing the shackling of pregnant prisoners, AB 2530, has been passed unanimously by the California State Legislature and is now on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, with thirty days to either approve or veto it. Last year, a previous version of this bill was also passed unanimously by the Legislature, but it was ultimately vetoed by Governor Brown.

With Governor Brown’s decision expected anytime, local activists are urgently mobilizing to stop him from vetoing this important bill once again. AB 2530 supporters have created a webpage for the public (not just California residents) to contact the Governor. Take action here.

The action page states that “AB 2530 addresses Governor Brown’s veto by clarifying language and prohibiting the most dangerous forms of shackling. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) opposes the use of shackles on pregnant women in all but the most extreme circumstances. Pregnant women in correctional facilities are more likely to experience miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight infants, and potentially fatal conditions like preeclampsia. Excessive shackling could not only increase stress and lead to further complications, but also render doctors unable to treat women in emergency situations. AB 2530 provides medical professionals the authority to have restraints removed in order to treat pregnant inmates.” (more…)

Undiminished

September 07, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Victoria Law

Can There Be Justice When Women Fight Back?

by Victoria Law

What do a nineteen-year-old lesbian from New Jersey, a 23-year-old trans woman in Minneapolis and a 31-year-old mother in Florida have in common? All three were attacked, all three fought back and all three were arrested. All three are currently in prison while their attackers remain free. Oh, yes, and all three are black women.

Marissa Alexander is a 31-year-old mother of three. She is also a survivor of violence at the hands of her ex, Rico Gray. In 2009, Alexander obtained a restraining order against Gray. Learning that she was pregnant, she amended it to remove the ban on contact between her and Gray while maintaining the rest of the restraining order. (more…)


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