The only show in the nation for, by and about incarcerated women. The moving and compelling stories on how they got there and why so many deserve their freedom.
After many months of working hard to ensure justice, the Parole Board agreed to hold a special hearing last week for Glenda Virgil and found her SUITABLE for release! This is a huge victory for this incredible survivor who has endured 39 years of abuse, 25 years in prison, and now stage 3 lung cancer. As we await news from the Governor’s office for how long the process will take for her actual release, we celebrate the fact that Virgil will officially be the first survivor released under the “Sin by Silence Bills!” Such a poetic conclusion for all of us who have journeyed together to right the wrongs for incarcerated survivors.
After 25 years, Glenda Virgil will finally be reunited with her family (pictured above). This brings the opportunity to hold her daughter, Nida, in her arms and finally meet her granddaughter, Dixie, for the first time. Yet, this will not happen without our continued help! Upon release, Virgil will not be permitted to travel and her family does not have the funds to fly from Illinois to California for the reunion. Click below to donate anything you can to ensure this family will be together the first days that Virgil becomes a free woman. All donations will go toward the costs for the trip, and every dollar raised above our goal will help cover the necessities needed as Virgil begins her new life for her final months – clothing, toiletries, food, etc.
The latest update on Lynne Stewart's health is that her white blood cell count is so low, shehas been removed to an isolated ward and can no longer have access to email, while awaiting
further test results.
The clock is ticking. Keep the pressure on. Some teachers in Harlem are trying to organize a 1 day fast for Lynne with …
“The percentage of female prisoners suffering mental conditions, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, has always been high but many women hadn’t been diagnosed, experts say. Many of the women also had declined to seek treatment until they were behind bars.”
The Denver Post “The number of Colorado female prisoners diagnosed with psychological disorders has risen sharply to more than twice the level of male prisoners.
The women are almost without exception victims of severe sexual and physical abuse, experts say. They cycle through jail and prison, often because they don’t get adequate treatment or community support.
“The trauma histories are extreme,” said Theresa Stone, chief of mental health at Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. “It’s hard to hear what these women have been through.”
While most women are incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, a certain percentage of them are committing increasingly violent acts, Stone said.
“Women are in many cases extremely violent,” she said. “I think we’re seeing the impact of abuse and mental illness.”
The state prison system has in recent years taken great strides in diagnosing and addressing the needs of mentally ill women, Stone said. There is drug counseling, psychological treatment and group therapy. Some women live in highly structured therapeutic communities in special pods. The first step was identifying the true scope of the problem, Stone said.
In 2001, a Colorado Department of Corrections review determined that 39 percent of women incarcerated in Colorado were diagnosed with some type of mental illness. A Dec. 31 report says that 67 percent of those women are mentally ill.
That is slightly lower than the national rate of women incarcerated in prison. According to a December 2006 Department of Justice study, 73 percent of women in state prisons nationally have some type of mental disorder. Within the general population, 12 percent of women have a diagnosed mental disorder, the same report says.” Full Story On Denver Post
CLAREMONT, Calif. – When a number of formerly incarcerated women last year received what they thought was a distress e-mail from a friend, Gloria Killian, saying she was stranded in Scotland penniless and needed to have money wired to her ASAP so she could fly back to California, at least two of them rushed to their banks to see how much they could pull out.
Another decided she would send Killian everything she’d been saving up – more than a years worth of savings — to put herself through school.
Some of Killian’s more streetwise friends, however, decided they would check the authenticity of the e-mail before deciding how they could help. That morning, Killian said, “my phone rang off the hook.”
She quickly went online and alerted her contacts about the email hack.
“The fact that so many friends were ready to jump in to help, shows we are there for each other,” said Killian, 65, who had spent the better part of two decades inside a California prison, for a crime she didn’t commit.
Exonerated in 2002, Killian is now the executive director of the Action Committee for Women in Prison. She is also the co-host and co-founder of the weekly webcast, “Women Behind the Walls,” the only show in the United States that is by, for and about incarcerated women.
Many of the women who rushed to Killian’s aid were there for each other even while incarcerated in the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Corona. They formed bonds behind bars that only grew stronger after they were released, observed Killian.
“Women prisoners allow their personalities to come out, and friendships develop,” noted Wayne Davison who, during his 25-years as a prison warden in California, worked in both women’s and men’s prisons. “They form families.” Continue Reading…
Thao Nguyen’s Women’s Prison Work: The Painful, Inspiring Stories of Four Inmates (spinner.com)
Two of three women in Colorado prisons diagnosed with psychological disorders (denverpost.com)
We should stop sending so many women to jail, says penal reform charity (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
Most women at Kabul prison accused of moral crimes (dawn.com)
Women’s Stories Come Alive Through Dance (acwip.wordpress.com)
Aprox. 90 precent of Women in Prison as of 2008 are in for Killing Abusive Partner - While Abusers Get Little to No Time
"The average prison sentence for men who kill their intimate partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are sentenced, on average, to 15 years.
A pair of Maryland cases vividly illustrates this inequality in sentencing. In one case, a judge in Baltimore County, Maryland sentenced Kenneth Peacock to 18 months for killing his unfaithful wife. The very next day, another judge in the same county sentenced Patricia Ann Hawkins to three years in prison for killing her abusive husband.
Lineage Dance Company hosted a benefit for the Action Committee for Women in Prison (ACWIP) at their studio. Hilary Thomas, artistic director at Lineage dance—a nonprofit that raises funds for other nonprofits—took us on a journey of stories told by dance.
“Everyone has their own story,” Gloria Killian, founder of ACWIP said after the event. “ Whether it’s a woman in prison or a woman with Parkinson’s both stories tend to get overlooked but tonight each person’s story was resembled through dance.”
Lineage Dance Company hosted a benefit for the Action Committee for Women in Prison (ACWIP) at their studio. Hilary Thomas, artistic director at Lineage dance—a nonprofit that raises funds for other nonprofits—took us on a journey of stories told by dance. The first two dances of the night were inspired by Hilary’s first meeting with Gloria.
“Essentially the show that were doing, I wanted to highlight the strength of women and one of the pieces is about the anger I imagine she was feeling… I heard her story and thought it would embody what I would imagine she experienced” Hilary said. read more »