Category Archives: children with parent in prison

Mother finds redemption after drug addiction

Oct. 4, 2016: A mother who fought addiction and criminal charges for giving birth to a drug addicted baby is sharing her story of redemption to encourage others who are in a similar situation.

Robin Wilhoit, WBIR 6:12 PM. EST October 04, 2016

A Tennessee mother who has struggled with addiction wants to make it easier to find help.

Only 11 percent of people who need treatment for drug addiction in Tennessee actually receive it, according to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

And there’s a growing epidemic of babies born drug dependent in East Tennessee.

Brittany Hudson’s teens and early 20′s were consumed with alcohol and oxycodone.

In 2014, Hudson was pregnant and addicted. She became one of the first women in Tennessee charged under a new state law with assaulting her unborn child. Continue reading

Georgia the latest state to ‘ban the box’ in hiring practices

Washington Post, By Reid Wilson February 24, 2015

Georgia will no longer require job applicants to disclose their criminal histories on employment forms after Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed an executive order this week aimed at smoothing the reintegration process for former inmates.

Deal’s order [pdf] applies only to those seeking work with state agencies. It would prohibit those agencies from using a prior criminal history as an automatic disqualifier for job applicants. Those applicants will have the opportunity to discuss their criminal records in person.

The policy is known as “ban the box,” a reference to employment forms that ask about prior criminal convictions. Georgia is the 14th state to adopt the policy, along with states as diverse as Nebraska, New Mexico, California and Hawaii. Nationally, nearly 100 cities, including Washington, D.C., have adopted the same policy. Continue reading

Challenge Federal Court Decision Maklng Pregnancy the Basis for Increasing a Federal Prison Sentence


100 LEADING EXPERTS AND ORGANIZATIONS

CHALLENGE FEDERAL COURT DECISION MAKING PREGNANCY THE BASIS FOR INCREASING A FEDERAL PRISON SENTENCE

Friend of Court Brief Filed in Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Challenges as Unconstitutional and Dangerous to Maternal, Fetal, and Child Health Tennessee District Court Decision to Add Six Years to Lacey Weld’s Sentence

December 9, 2014, National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) and 99 other organizations and experts filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Ms. Lacey Weld. Ms. Weld is appealing the decision of a Tennessee federal court to add six years to her prison sentence because she was pregnant at the time she committed a federal offense.

Ms. Weld pled guilty to the crime of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and cooperated with the Department of Justice in its prosecution of others involved in this manufacturing operation. Following her plea, however, federal prosecutors argued that by struggling with addiction and by being in a “volatile” environment with dangerous “fumes” while pregnant, Ms. Weld put her “unborn child” at risk and deserved more punishment than the men who also participated in the manufacturing operation. The federal district court in Tennessee agreed and, in an unprecedented decision, interpreted the Federal Sentencing Guidelines that allow increased penalties for creating “a substantial risk of harm to the life of a minor” to permit increased penalties for women who are pregnant while committing a federal crime. Continue reading

Nationwide Coalition Calls on Department of Justice to Denounce Enhanced Sentence for Pregnant Woman

National Advocates for Pregnant Women, 10/7/14
Contact: Lynn Paltrow, NAPW, (212) 255-9252
Cherisse Scott, SisterReach, (901) 310-5488
Today, a coalition of 48 reproductive justice, drug policy reform, women’s rights, and civil liberties organizations sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to renounce enhanced criminal penalties for women on the basis of pregnancy. The letter was co-signed by organizations in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
In the case at issue, Lacey Weld pled guilty to the crime of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. According to a statement issued by U.S. Attorney William C. Killian of the Eastern District of Tennessee, she was given an enhanced sentence-an additional six years in federal prison-because she was pregnant at the time she committed the crime.
The coalition demonstrates in its strongly worded letter that an enhanced sentence based on pregnancy is contrary to the Obama Administration’s commitment to rational and just sentencing policies, women’s reproductive and civil rights, and the health and well-being of children and families. The letter also makes clear that this position is contrary to the Obama Administration’s stated support for science and evidence-based research as the basis for public policy. Continue reading

“New Hope” a program for children with a parent in prison

I recently saw a piece on the news about this wonderful program “New Hope.”

According to federal statistics, children with a parent in prison are five times more likely to end up in prison themselves. John Bentley, CBS Evening News, reports on “New Hope,” an Oklahoma non-profit program that aims to break the cycle.

The Issue: An Invisible Population

No one knows how many children in Oklahoma have a parent in prison. No government agency or private group monitors this segment of the population. These children are —invisible victims of crime, as there is no official record of them and no attempt to address their needs. Somewhere between 20,000 to 25,000 children in Oklahoma have a parent in prison.

Continue reading