ACTION COMMITTEE FOR WOMEN IN PRISON
Our mission is to advocate for the humane and compassionate treatment of all incarcerated
women everywhere. We work for the release of all women who are unjustly imprisoned,
and strive to reduce the over reliance on incarceration
We work to bring fairness and equity into the criminal justice system and to shift the focus to treatment and restorative justice. We work to educate the public, develop new legislation, implement new programs, and develop resources for incarcerated women.
Our Purpose/Vision Statement
It is our vision that all persons who are impacted by the criminal justice system will be treated with dignity and respect, and that restorative justice will be the goal of all parties. Everyone in society will recognize that they have an important role in the process, and rehabilitation will be a primary focus of the criminal justice system. We envision a future where female offenders will be helped to maintain their families and develop strong relationships with their children rather than having their families destroyed as a consequence of contact with the criminal justice system...
Started 3 petitions
Grant compassionate release for Katherine Telemachos
I want to tell you about my friend, Katherine Telemachos. She needs your help. Katherine is currently serving a life sentence at Broward Correctional Institution, and is terminally ill. We are seeking a conditional medical release from the parole board and we are certain that once you read her story, you will want to help us in making this happen. Katherine has had a very hard life. Originally from South Florida, she was born with a terminal liver disease and in 1981 she became the youngest girl in the US to receive an experimental liver transplant at the age of 10 years old. Katherine’s health remained stable for a few years. However, at 16, doctors discovered that the medication that kept her transplanted liver from rejecting was causing kidney failure. Despite attempts to save Katherine’s kidneys, in 1989, just eight years after her liver transplant, she received a transplanted kidney from her mother. She was eighteen years old and her life was about to drastically change. Katherine fought from an early age not just to survive her illnesses but was also the victim of an extremely abusive father. Her father abused her sexually, physically, emotionally and psychologically. She was raped, whipped, cut with knives, sodomized and threatened consistently even when she was ill. She also witnessed his abuse inflicted upon her mother. Katherine had two motivators for keeping quiet; her father’s threat to kill her and her mother, and her deeply embedded shame. Statistics show that women who have suffered such horrific abuse over long period of time lose touch with reality. She once said that she is responsible for killing her father because she was too afraid to kill herself. Hours after her father was murdered by her then boyfriend, Katherine was arrested. She was prosecuted and received a life sentence. Another man that was at the scene plead out to a lesser charge in turn for his testimony against Katherine. She has been incarcerated since 1991 at the age of 19 and has been in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections for approximately 20 years. She is now 40 years old. Katherine remained silent about her childhood abuse until 2005. In 2003, Katherine noticed a pea sized lump in her left breast. Despite relentless attempts in seeking treatment, it was not until October 29, 2007 that she received a bilateral radical mastectomy. Unfortunately, due to the delay in treatment, the cancer had metastasized to her lymph nodes, lung, bone and chest wall. She is dying. Due to Katherine’s transplant history, traditional cancer treatments are not viable options for her. Despite recommendations, the Florida Department of Corrections has continuously refused to send her to a transplant specialist where alternate treatments could be explored. Just over a year ago, due to medication she was given for high blood pressure, Katherine’s transplanted kidney failed. She is now a dialysis patient. During a catheter removal and replacement operation, she was administered an antibiotic she was allergic to, causing her to develop a severe skin disease. Katherine is not receiving adequate medical care. She does not receive proper nutrition, pain management, cancer treatment and daily medications are often unavailable. In 2006 Katherine filed for clemency under the Battered Women’s Law. This is when she first began to relate to others the details of her horrific abuse. Her case was presented before Governor Jeb Bush and the Clemency Board and was denied due to the failure of the Florida Domestic Review Board to submit their report in a timely fashion. I believe Gov. Bush would have granted her clemency at that time, and if so, she would be living a healthy productive life in our community today. Instead she may die in prison. Katherine is one of the most amazing women I have even known. She is kind and empathetic to others, highly educated, and always willing to help another. She is unassuming and gentle, quiet and thoughtful and highly dependable. She is a devout Christian. Katherine has educated herself while in prison. She graduated from business operations, earned a two year degree in accounting/bookkeeping, and an associates degree from Blackstone School of Law in paralegal studies. She has worked in the Law Library at several institutions assisting staff and other women with their legal needs. Moreover, she has dedicated herself to helping others overcome their shame of abuse. She broke her silence and shares her pain, her journey of healing and how she became a survivor of abuse rather than a victim. Katherine and her mother are very close. Katherine’s mom wants her daughter returned to her, and brought home before she dies. Katherine wants to die at home and hopes to have the chance to see the ocean before she passes. Since 2010, several doctors working for the Department of Corrections have diagnosed Katherine with a terminal illness. Her time is running out. Without intervention and the mercy of the Governor of Florida and the Florida Parole and Probation Commission, Katherine will die in prison where she has spent the majority of her life. Katherine is seeking a Conditional Medical Release from prison, the same supervised release granted to another terminally ill inmate at Broward CI in Jan. 2011. It is time for Katherine to go home. Please help her go home by signing this petition which will be included in her application for Conditional Medical Release. Please help Katherine see the ocean one more time.
Mercy for Gaile Owens
Wonderful news! Gaile Owens will not be executed and she will even be eligible for parole in 2012. Thank you to everyone who supported her...you did this! Now lets get her out on parole.Governor commutes sentence of Gaile Owens | tennessean.com | The Tennesseanwww.tennessean.comUPDATED: 11:25pm: Gov. Phil Bredesen said Wednesday that he had commuted the death sentence of Gaile W. Owens to life in prison. Dear friends: The state of Tennessee is scheduled to execute Gaile Owens on September 28th, unless we can convince Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen to commute her death sentence to life in prison. Gaile Owens is in prison for hiring a man to kill her abusive husband in 1985. She was offered a plea to life in prison -- and she accepted that plea -- but the D.A. rescinded their offer when her co-defendant refused to accept the plea. The attorneys working on her case believe that no other prisoner on death row in the U.S. has received a death sentence after accepting the offer of a guilty plea in exchange for alife sentence. Below and attached is more information about Ms. Owens' case (my apologies in advance if the formatting of the following message is weird). The organization where I work, the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, has been working with Ms. Owens’ attorneys since last summer to block her execution. Gaile Owens needs more support – and needs it now. At a minimum, please sign the petition AND forward this message to all of your coworkers, colleagues, friends, and family. Time is short. We need to act NOW. THANKS IN ADVANCE. We believe that letters sent via US mail will be the most persuasive. Please considersending a letter to the Governor and to his legal counsel. His address is: The Honorable Phil Bredesen Governor’s OfficeTennessee State Capitol Nashville, TN 37243-0001 If you can’t send a letter via US mail, please send a message to the Governor l via e-mail. His e-mail addresses are: Phil.Bredesen@tn.gov . Consider calling the Governor’s office, writing a letter to the editor, submitting an editorial, and/or joining as a Friend of Gaile Owens on Facebook. For more information about these ideas, see the Friends of Gaile website under the “Learn More” tab (about halfway down the page). http://www.friendsofgaile.com/about.htm Why Gaile Owens should have her sentence commuted: There are many compelling reasons to commute Gaile Owens’ sentence. We need your help to convince Governor Bredesen that commuting her sentence is the correct – and just – action for him to take. Ms. Owens is the only prisoner in Tennessee to receive a death sentence after accepting a prosecutor’s offer of a plea agreement for life in prison. In 1985, after years of sexual abuse and severe humiliation by her husband, Ms. Owens hired a man to kill him. The prosecutor’s office offered that Ms. Owens could plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. This offer was made with the approval of her husband’s family. Remorseful and concerned about putting her children through the trauma and hardship of a trial, she accepted the plea. But, when Ms. Owens’ codefendant – the man she hired to kill her husband – refused to take the plea, the prosecutors withdrew the offer. We believe Gaile Owens is the only prisoner in the entire United States in this unimaginable and untenable situation. No other prisoner has received a death sentence after accepting the offer of a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence. Ms. Owens’ death sentence is clearly excessive. A recent review of 9 cases from Tennessee that involve women who have killed or hired someone to kill their partners, shows that 6 have received probation or early parole and that two receivedlife sentenceswith eligibility for parole. Only Ms. Owens has received death. As you may recall,Mary Winkler, another woman from Tennessee, who shot and killed her minister husband, ended up serving a total of 7monthsand subsequently was able to get full custody of her children. Ms. Owens, a remorseful woman with a stellar prison record, should not be put to death. Ms. Owens received a sentence of death by a jury that never heard critical information about the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse she endured throughout her life, including from her husband. Ms Owens was subjected to physical and sexual violence from a young age. Her husband was but one of the perpetrators of violence against her. His unspeakable acts of sexual violence and humiliation were part of the story of Gaile Owens’ life, the story the jury never heard. When her trial attorneys asked for funds to hire an expert witness with experience in abuse and trauma to evaluate Ms. Owens, they were denied. She was instead given a competency/insanity evaluation by a local mental health clinic. Unprepared and ill-equipped, her attorneys proceeded to try her case without the essential evidence of her history of abuse. As if these failings weren’t damaging enough, it was discovered that the prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense. To this date, at least one juror has come forward saying that if she had had the information about Ms. Owens’ experiences of abuse, she would not have voted in favor of execution. In other words, the proper presentation of this evidence could have saved Gaile Owens’ life. The legal system clearly failed Ms. Owens.At each step of the legal process, Ms. Owens’ efforts to find justice were thwarted. Gaile Owens death sentence should be commuted. For additional information about Ms. Owens’ case, visit http://www.tennesseedeathpenalty.org/ The National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women (NCDBW) and the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (TCADSV) have been working together to support Ms. Owens for many months. Last summer, the National Clearinghouse submitted an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court in support of Ms. Owens’ Petition for Certiorari (asking the Supreme Court to hear Ms. Owens’ case). The Supreme Court refused to hear her case. In January, NCDBW and TCADSV submitted an amicus to theTennessee Supreme Court seeking a certificate of commutation, which was denied at the end of April. We turn to you now – our colleagues, coworkers, friends and family – to urge you to act to save Gaile Owens’ life.
Grant parole for Ruth Paschal 150910
Dear friends, I am writing this to inform you of yet another injustice. This is the story of a friend of mine, Ruth Paschal #150910. Tomorrow January 27th is her parole hearing. Please call the parole board. In 1981 there was a murder. A man was forced to jump from the Skyway Bridge in Florida. Ruth was in the car while 2 men stood on the bridge with him. One of those men was Ruth's husband. She did not commit murder. The other man who did commit the crime confessed to the police and was granted immunity in exchange for his confession. Ruth was pressured to stand trial with him against her better judgment. She has served her 25 year sentence and is now still in prison for her 29th year. The Florida parole board should do the right thing and grant her parole in 2010. This is Ruth's second parole hearing and she deserves her freedom. We are asking people to sign her petition, make phone calls and fax the Parole Commission and Governor Charlie Crist on her behalf. She is a woman of faith and has taken many vocational and self betterment programs while in prison. She mentors other inmates and is consistently given good reviews from her superiors. Please urge the parole commission to grant her parole. Feel free to add your own words to the letter. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for doing whatever you can do. Call, email, fax. We need to let the parole commission know that we mean business. It is time that women like Ruth get their freedom. Mail letters to: Florida Parole Commission 2601 Blair Stone Rd Tallahassee, Fl 32399 Call and/or fax the following COMMISSIONERS Frederick B. Dunphy, Chair, (850) 488-0476 / FAX (850) 414-6031 Tena M. Pate, Vice Chair, (850) 487-1980 / FAX (850) 414-2627 Monica David, Commissioner, (850) 487-1978 / FAX (850) 487-1220 Governor Crist Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: * (850) 488-7146* [Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time] Fax: (850) 487-0801 Office of Governor Charlie Crist State of Florida PL-05 The Capitol Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001