Monday, October 9, 2017

My Experience As A Mom with an Incarcerated Daughter

I thought that as time went on things would get easier but it never does.  To know that your daughter is in an environment where she is just "inmate" and there is such disregard for her as a human being wears on you even when you think it's not, or try to be positive.

I am also astonished and disheartened at the general public's response to the incarcerated-"they deserve bad food and to be treated badly", "they should not have gotten themselves in there", "they should have made better choices" and on and on.  God forbid that anyone of them ever made a mistake or a bad choice.  Believe me everyone is a bad choice away from being incarcerated with all the laws we have today.  Most are in for drug issues, mental health issues.  And the way the rules are you can be charged with a violent crime even though there was no violence.  I know many women, esp young women, in my daughter's prison who are "guilty by association".  They either did not know a crime was being committed or they knew and were afraid to tell but did not participate in the crime.  They are serving life sentences.  My daughter said that these are the women they need to let out.  So, that's how easy it is to get into the criminal justice system.  And if anyone thinks it cannot happen to them or someone they love, think again.  There are many many people who are incarcerated who are innocent because of prosecutorial misconduct, an uninformed jury and basically a broken criminal justice system. 

And then your sentence depends on the mood of the judge.  He or she could be having a bad day and you will receive a harsher sentence.  And then there are mandatory minimums for drug offenses that can be 10 years for a first time offense.

If my daughter was in an environment that was positive and focused on rehabilitation and helping these broken women make better choices and if they had programs that build self-esteem and self-worth and that continued upon their release I would be so much less worried.  Instead they are talked to with great disrespect, humiliated, degraded and then expected to be your wonderful, well-adjusted neighbor.

I could go on and on but I won't because I'm tired and at this point feeling pretty hopeless that anything will really change.  The women go in damaged and they come out more damaged and why we are not all outraged is beyond me. 

They shackle women during childbirth.  There is no compassion or empathy for women who are ill.  The medical in prison does as much as they can possibly get away with to not treat the women-"do no harm" does not apply to inmates that is for sure. 

That's all for now.

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