From the Free Sara Kruzan website: “There are approximately 225 juveniles in California serving a life without parole sentence. California has the worst racial disparity rate in the nation for sentencing juveniles to life without parole. Black youth are given this sentence at 22 times the rate of white youth.
One such case involves Sara Kruzan, now 31. She was raised in Riverside by her abusive, drug-addicted mother. Sara met her father only three times in her life because he was in prison.
Since the age of 9, Sara suffered from severe depression for which she was hospitalized several times. At the age of 11, she met a 31-year-old man named G.G. who molested her and began grooming her to become a prostitute. At age 13, she began working as a child prostitute for G.G. and was repeatedly molested by him. At age 16, Sara was convicted of killing him. She was sentenced to prison for the rest of her life despite her background and a finding by the California Youth Authority that she was amendable to treatment offered in the juvenile system.
‘As a society we?ve learned a lot since the time we started using life without parole for children,’ said Elizabeth Calvin, a children?s rights advocate with Human Rights Watch. ‘We now know that this sentence provides no deterrent effect. While children who commit serious crimes should be held accountable, public safety can be protected without subjecting youth to the harshest prison sentence possible.'”
Sara will soon have a resentencing hearing. To sign a petition supporting her release, please click here. Thank you.
A bit of good news, though there is still much work to be done against the Drug War . . .
House Joins Senate in Ditching Crack Disparity
FAMM Hails Elimination of First Mandatory Minimum Since Nixon Administration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 28, 2010
Contact: Monica Pratt Raffanel, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, D.C. ? Moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed landmark legislation to dramatically reduce the sentencing disparity between federal crack and powder cocaine sentences and to repeal the five-year mandatory minimum for simple possession of crack cocaine. The bill, S. 1789, already won unanimous approval from the Senate in March and now goes to the White House for President Obama?s certain signature. Its passage marks the first time that Congress has repealed a mandatory minimum drug sentence since the Nixon administration.
For almost 28 years Maria Suarez was held against her will. First by a slaveholder and then imprisoned for a crime she didn?t commit.
She was tricked into slavery when she was 15 years old. Her captor abused her mentally, physically, and spiritually. He threatened to hurt her family so even when the police and her family tried to help, she told them everything was okay. Her dreams of a better life were fading. “My dreams just were crushed. They never let me bloom, like a rose. They never let the rose grow up to be a rose.?
Maria says that for 28 years she was just looking for, ?A little bit of justice.?
Her story is heartbreaking and inspiring. Read for yourself, or see Maria’s compelling story. She was interviewed for the film, ”Dreams Die Hard”.
– from Free the Slaves organizational website.
To read the interview with Maria Suarez, please click here. Thank you.
Free Battered Women (FBW) has recently become a program of CCWP, with both organizations growing and strengthening with new people, energy and ideas! We are in the process of adding FBW updates and information to the CCWP website.
Please see our “Action Center” webpage for parole support letters and other important actions. Thank you!
The following is a message from the Post Conviction Law Project asking the community to support Margaret Moore. Please send your letters of support for this incarcerated survivor of domestic violence!
My name is Erin McCann and I work for USC Law School’s Post Conviction Justice Project. I am writing to you today on behalf of Margaret Moore, a battered and abused woman who has spent nearly thirty years in prison for killing her abusive husband.
Margaret Moore is 50 year-old, non-violent survivor of domestic violence. As a child and adolescent, her father subjected her to countless instances of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Years later, after marrying the victim and distancing herself from her father, Margaret once again suffered severe abuse, this time at the hands of her husband. A May 2002 California Board of Prison Terms? Investigation concluded that Margaret?s ?horrific upbringing undoubtedly contributed? to her crime, and ?years of incestuous physical and emotional abuse?ended her ability to, otherwise, logically seek an escape from her miserable existence in her marriage to the victim.?
Click here to learn more
by Anonymous, VSPW
Title 15 section 3060: ?Institutions will provide the means for all inmates to keep themselves and their living quarters clean and to practice good health habits.? (emphasis added). Section 3061: ?Inmates must keep themselves clean, and practice those health habits essential to the maintenance of physical and mental well-being.?
That?s what Title 15 provides; here?s the reality …
Cleaning at VSPW is an uphill battle. The wide spread MRSA and hepatitis reflect the crisis we face. If we were given basics, like soap, it would help. All around the world there are signs posted in restrooms, “wash your hands before returning to work.” This practice does not occur at VSPW. Our facility yard medical areas, dayroom restrooms and culinary areas never have soap and are rarely even equipped to hold a soap dispenser. This leads to poor hygiene and disease spread.
We can’t even wash our hands, or clean our rooms. How can one hold a decent self-esteem if they are not given enough supplies to be clean? What we get is guaranteed to make you smell and burn off your skin. And there is not enough soap powder to wash one load of clothes.
If you are indigent, [you can’t buy additional cleaning supplies], you can’t be clean, you can’t be in a “rehabilitative” mindset. The amount of cleaning supplies provided to us needs to be increased. It is unacceptable.
If so, Stop Prisoner Rape wants to hear your story.
The problem of sexual assault is one that affects many women behind bars. Breaking the silence that surrounds this abuse is an important first step to ending it. Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR) wants to hear your story. All your information will be kept confidential. If you are a survivor who was assaulted while in detention in California, please contact us at:
Break the Silence, Stop Prisoner Rape
3325 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 340,
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (213) 384-1400