Moms Don't Belong Behind Bars for Nonviolent Drug Offenses
The "war on drugs" has become a war on families. Women are the fastest-growing prison population in the United States, and more than two thirds of women behind bars are mothers to minor children.
The vast majority of women in prison are there for drug-related offenses. These are often low-level, first-time offenders, many taken away from their homes and families for infractions as minor as what the government has dubbed "improper use of the telephone" - answering the phone for what turned out to be a drug deal. For offenses as insignificant as this, women are missing out on raising their own children, and children are being deprived of having a relationship with their mothers.
In this spirit of all-out war, children are suffering. In many states, all new mothers are routinely tested for drugs, and children are separated from their mothers for just one positive drug test. These tests are highly unreliable, as a new mother in Pennsylvania recently learned when her 2-day old newborn was taken away from her because she had eaten a poppy seed bagel, producing a positive test result for opiates. This separation can cause irreparable damage to the child for life.
Pregnant women entering prison often have high-risk pregnancies and higher rates of chronic disease, yet a majority of states do not allow them to get regular prenatal care exams, and do not offer pregnant women screening for diseases like AIDS that can be passed to the child. Putting mother and child at further risk, many prisons force pregnant women to wear handcuffs and shackles for the entire labor and delivery of their child. This practice has been swept under the rug to the point that few are even aware of its existence. Most leading public health and medical groups including the American Public Health Association and American Medical Association are strongly advocating for an end to the inhumane practice of shackling. While 16 states have banned shackling, little progress has been made, since most states have failed to implement strict limits on the use of shackles or other restraints on mothers during labor and delivery.
In the name of "family values," drug prohibition is destroying families and treating women and children with unnecessary cruelty. Stand with the Cops and Moms in alliance and voice your support for the women and children victimized by the drug war.
Please visit www.LEAP.cc for more information and use the following link to Sign The Petition directly on the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition website: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5663/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10464