Nationwide Rally Promoting Alternatives for Women in Prison

On May 9, 1997, 13 cities throughout the U.S. will participate in the "Mothers in Prison, Children in Crisis Campaign '97," to protest maternal incarceration and to raise awareness of the need for prison alternatives.The number of women incarcerated into he U.S. has increased dramatically during the past two decades. In 1980, 10,000 women were incarcerated; today -- in California alone -- more than 10,000 women are in prison, bringing the national total to 116,000.More than 80 percent of the incarcerated women are mothers, making post-prison integration back into society more difficult, not only for the women, but also for their children, who were forced into foster care or sent to live with relatives. Prison activists propose that alternatives to foster care -- such as mother-infant care halfway houses -- are a place where non-violent prisoners can take part in rehab programs while maintaining a bond with their children.San Francisco-based Legal Services for Prisoner's with Children cites mandatory minimum sentencing for drug law violations as the major reason for the increased numbers of imprisoned women, more than 65 percent of whom are serving time for nonviolent drug-related crimes.For information on participating cities and speakers, call Justice Works Community at 718/499-6704.

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