Demonstrate on Friday, May 12!

by Amy Weaver
Bay Area community activists Joyce Miller and Ida McCray Robinson have their hands full preparing for the May 12th demonstration for “Mothers in Prison, Children in Crisis: a National Campaign. The event, which takes place at noon in front of the United Nations Plaza in San Francisco, is part of a ationwide day of protest against the “destructive social and economic consequences of maternal incarceration.” Speakers will include affected women who are formerly or currently involved with mother/children care facilities, various clergy and civic officials. The numbers are frightening: In 1980, there were only 10,000 women incarcerated throughout the United States. Today, there are more than 11,000 women in California’s state prisons, and thousands in county jails. The alarming rise is due in large part to the criminalization of substance abuse and the harsh sentencing for drug law violations. Ida McCray, a former federal prisoner in California, knows first-hand the damage that is being inflicted on children of women prisoners and the frustration and pain this causes mothers behind bars. “It is so important to raise awareness to the drastic need for alternatives to incarceration for mothers,” says McCray. Joyce Miller seconds that notion. “People need to be educated about this crisis.” For more information, call Families with a Future/Legal Services for Prisoners with Children at 415/ 255-7036 ext. 320.