In our first show of the new year, we return to coverage of Charles Wilhite’s case. He was recently granted a retrial that is currently underway. We are joined by Shelley Alcott and Dan Keefe, members of the Justice For Charles collective. Tune in to hear about the case, followed by delicious beats by host Chris Tinson as he tries to get his chops back after a long hiatus from the show. Enjoy!
For additional coverage of Charles Wilhite’s retrial, go to:MassLive.com
On this episode we speak with Jamilah Ali, a medical care provider for HIV/AIDS patients about the HIV/AIDS crisis and African Americans. Jamilah is a case worker at the Baystate-Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center for HIV/AIDS Care based in Springfield, Massachusetts. According to a recent study, “HIV prevalence among African Americans exceeds that of whites, typically substantially, even in comparisons stratified by education, poverty index, marital status, age at first sexual intercourse, lifetime number of sex partners, history of male homosexual activity, illicit drug use, [and] injection drug use…” (Source: Adimora, Schoenbach, and Floris-Moore, “Ending the Epidemic of Heterosexual HIV Transmission Among African Americans,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2009). This interview is part of a series of conversations about health care that we’ll have throughout the year. Join us!
Since the late 1990s, the rate of women’s incarceration nationally has doubled that of incarcerated men. In 1980, there were roughly 14,000 women incarcerated nationally; by 2008 that number was well over 200,000. Although the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has the lowest rate of women imprisonment in the country (currently at 13 out of every 100,000 people), its population of incarcerated women and mothers is growing.
As of 2010, over 60% of “women in prison in the Commonwealth had been found guilty of nonviolent crimes such as drug and property offenses.” Currently there is a Bill before the Massachusetts legislature (H 2234) that “would establish minimum standards for the treatment and medical care of female inmates to promote safe, healthy pregnancy outcomes, prohibit shackling during childbirth, and ensure that release planning includes child custody and basic family planning information and services.”
According to the Bill’s Factsheet, “Nearly two-thirds of women in prison are mothers, and 77% of incarcerated mothers report providing most of the daily care for their children before incarceration. Further, according to the Bureau of Justice in 2007, 5% of women who enter into state prisons are pregnant, and 6% of women in jails are pregnant.”
The backgrounds, experiences, and needs of these women pre- and post-incarceration require our attention if we are to reverse these trends. Groups such as the Rebecca Project, the National Women’s Law Center, and locally the Prison Birth Project and The Real Cost of Prisons, among numerous other groups, have been crucial in bringing to public light the range of issues facing incarcerated women. A newly formed Boston-based organization, Families for Justice as Healing, seeks to “organize and mobilize families of those incarcerated for drug related offenses to join the movement toward creating criminal justice legislation that heals and rebuilds families and communities.” Joining us on the phone to talk about their work is the organization’s founder, Andrea James.
The Untouchable Caste of the United States:
The Stigma of Incarceration and the Metamorphosis of Legal Discrimination
Mount Holyoke College – South Hadley, Massachusetts – April 11, 2012
A panel featuring Rosa Clemente, Jasiri X, Jared Ball, and Marc Lamont Hill; moderated by Chris Tinson; also featured: Emahunn Campbell of Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) speaking on the Charles Wilhite case, and closing inspiration by Nyle Fort. Enjoy & Spread!!