Women in Prisons are often Women in Shadow

Archive for September, 2014

Az ISIS emberei bírósági tárgyalás után végeztek Moszulban Szamira Szalih el-Nuaimivel:


Az ISIS emberei bírósági tárgyalás után végeztek Moszulban Szamira Szalih el-Nuaimivel: a saját szabályaik szerint ítélkező testület hitehagyásban találta bűnösnek a fiatal nőt. A kivégzés nyilvános volt, a tárgyalás előtt öt napig kínozták az ismert emberi jogi aktivistát – közölte az iraki ENSZ-mi…



Juvenile In Justice 

The [Justice] Short List 9-26-14

WATCH: NYPD Officers Slam Pregnant Woman on Street—Belly First

California Women Prisonerz – SHU Deathz and Suicidez – Support Investigation


California Women Prisonerz – SHU Deathz and Suicidez – Support Investigation

Please contact the politicians and CDCR representatives listed at the end of this press release to


Being in physical distress locked in a cell turns into a truly terrifying experience when you can hear the cops banter with each other about you being a “crybaby”…and “they’ll get to it” when they have finished cutting it up with each other. It’s especially terrifying when you are experiencing symptoms you don’t understand & you have witnessed others calling for help only to learn that person didn’t survive.

-Sonja Marcus, formerly incarcerated woman, survived 18 years in prison

On July 30, 2014 a woman committed suicide in the Solitary Housing Unit (SHU) of the California Institution for Women (CIW), in Corona. According to information gathered by the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), there have been seven preventable deaths at CIW so far in 2014 and three attempted suicides since July alone. None of these deaths have been made public by CIW or CDCR although they signify a state of crisis in the prison.

Prison officials have failed to inform bereaved family members of these deaths in a timely and respectful manner. Margie Kobashigawa, the mother of 30-year-old Alicia Thompson, who died of an alleged suicide on February 24, 2014 in the SHU, was ignored by prison staff. “Nobody from the prison would call me back, nobody would talk to me. I was planning to pick up my daughter’s body and suddenly CIW was trying to cremate her again, and quickly. To me it’s like they’re trying to hide everything,” said Margie. As she prepared her daughter for burial, she found no signs of hanging trauma to her body and has reason to believe her daughter died from some other type of violent force. On March 13, 2014 Shadae Schmidt, a 32-year-old African American woman, died in the CIW SHU. Shadae had a stroke in February 2014 and was prematurely returned to the SHU. She was given medication that made her sick but her requests for a change in prescription fell on deaf ears; and then she died.

CCWP received information regarding these two deaths from friends and family members, but other deaths, suicides and attempted suicides remain shrouded in mystery. The majority of people in the SHU have some type of mental health problem, which is exacerbated by solitary confinement. CCWP continues to hear reports that there is no medical staff to monitor people’s vital signs and mental states when physical and mental health crises occur. People scream for help and get no response at all.  

Since the closure of Valley State Women’s Prison in January 2013, overcrowding at CIW has skyrocketed.  Medical care has significantly deteriorated and there has been a dramatic increase in the population of the SHU and other disciplinary segregation units. Overcrowding has aggravated mental health issues causing an increase in the number of mentally disabled people in the SHU even though this is the worst place to put them. 

In August 2014, in response to a court order, the CDCR released revised policies to reduce the number of people with mental health diagnoses in isolation.  Policy changes are only useful if they are implemented.  It is crucial for the CDCR to transfer all people with mental health issues out of the CIW SHU as soon as possible in accordance with the court order.

Despite decades of lawsuits to remedy prison health care and court orders to reduce prison overcrowding, the inhuman conditions inside CA women’s prisons continue and have led to these tragic, violent and untimely deaths. In order to reverse the crisis atCIW,CCWP calls for the following immediate actions:

  • Immediate transfer of all prisoners with mental health issues from the SHU and implementation of care programs.
  •   Increased healthcare staffing and care for people in the SHU.
  • An independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding all deaths at CIW in 2014.
  • Reduction of overcrowding through the implementation of existing release programs rather than transfers to other equally problematic prisons and jails.

 For more information contact: California Coalition for Women Prisoners at (415) 255-7035 ext. 314 or info@womenprisoners.org

PLEASE CALL, EMAIL, WRITE or FAX these people with the demands above:

Sara Malone, Chief Ombudsman

Office of the Ombudsman
1515 S. Street, Room 124 S.
Sacramento, CA 95811
Tel: (916) 327-8467      Fax: (916) 324-8263


Kimberly Hughes, Warden CIW

Tel: (909) 597-1771


Senator Hannah Beth-Jackson

District 19, Senate Budget Committee

Vice-Chair of Women’s Caucus

 (916) 651-4019


 Assemblymember Nancy Skinner

District 15, Women’s Caucus

(916) 319-2015



Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

District 17

(916) 319-2017


Senator Mark Leno


Senator Loni Hancock


Senator Holly Mitchell

District 26, Women’s Caucus

Public Safety Committee (916) 651-4015


Senator Jim Beall

District 15, Senate Budget Committee


(916) 651-4026

Jay Virbel, Associate Director of Female Offender Programs & Services


(916) 322-1627

PO Box 942883

Sacramento, CA 95811

Jeffrey Beard,  CDCR Secretary


(916) 323-6001

PO Box 942883

Sacramento, CA 95811

Sex slavers arrested in Orlando for trafficking women from prison, MBI says

Sex slavers arrested in Orlando for trafficking women from prison, MBI says

A Mother Landed in Jail for Trying to Help Her Daughter, and She Might Not be the Last

A Mother Landed in Jail for Trying to Help Her Daughter, and She Might Not be the Last

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A Mother Landed in Jail for Trying to Help Her Daughter, and She Might Not be the Last

A single mother in Pennsylvania was recently sentenced to up to a year and a half in prison for helping her 16-year-old daughter end a pregnancy. (Photo: Jenn Vargas)

Earlier this month, a judge sentenced a Pennsylvania mother to up to a year and a half in prison for helping her 16-year-old daughter end a pregnancy by purchasing abortion medication online. The single mother, who has a low-paying job, ordered the medication online because there was no health center that provides abortions nearby, and she lacked health insurance to pay for an abortion at a hospital. She was sentenced after pleading guilty to performing an illegal abortion.

My heart goes out to this mother, who was doing the best she could to do right by her daughter. But what really keeps me up at night is the knowledge that because of the barrage of restrictions politicians are passing, more and more families are facing the same dilemma.

To be sure, I wish this mother and her daughter did not have to resort to ending her pregnancy without the help of medical professionals. I have no doubt that they wished there was another way too. But faced with the prospect of continuing the pregnancy and inducing the abortion on their own, the family did what thousands and thousands of women did before Roe. They took matters into their own hands. And they won’t be the last family to do so.

It’s no secret why this is happening. Across the country, extreme politicians have passed a rash of laws that single out doctors and health centers that provide abortions in a transparent effort to prevent a woman from getting a safe and legal abortion.

In Texas, these types of laws threaten to leave only seven clinics for the more than 5.5 million women of reproductive age in the state. Similar laws threaten to shutter the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi, all but two of the clinics in Alabama, and force women in Wisconsin to wait up to 10 weeks to get an abortion. Louisiana and Oklahoma recently passed similar laws and we can expect to see even more states attempt to pass these laws in the next legislative session.

Pennsylvania, where the family lives, has a law that requires a woman seeking an abortion to make an extra, medically unnecessary trip to the clinic before she can get an abortion. Just last week in Missouri, state legislators overrode a governor’s veto to institute a 3-day forced delay for abortion, even though Missouri voters clearly said they don’t want this law. The mandatory delay applies no matter how long a woman has considered her decision before coming to the health center. Now, a woman will have to wait 72 hours for an abortion, after talking to a healthcare professional, no matter how firm she is in her decision.

Leading medical groups, like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have opposed these laws. So why are politicians still passing them? To shame women and abortion providers and end access to safe, legal abortion.

Sadly this means this mother likely won’t be last mother to face a difficult dilemma when she’s only trying to help her daughter.

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Gruesome Buddies: ISIS Beheadings and the American Death Penalty


Gruesome Buddies: ISIS Beheadings and the American Death Penalty.

“What is certain is that we, too, execute innocent people. We just do it after spending a lot more money to cover our asses.” (Photo: Truthout.org)

We are going to war again in Iraq and expanding the bombing to Syria, the seventh country in the Middle East to be graced with American bombings since 2001 (not including Gaza-Palestine, where American bombs are piloted by Israeli largesse). We’re doing this why? Because two Americans and a Brit were beheaded and American media whipped public opinion into a frenzy over it. The same media shrugged when 200,000 Syrians were butchered over the past three years, most of them by the same guy to whom the U.S. Air Force is about to give aid and comfort. The same media chest-thumped and encouraged the butchery of 2,000 Palestinians in July, about a quarter…

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Guardian – Lisa Coleman executed by lethal injection after final appeal rejected

cropped-1_in_4_worlds_prisoners1.pngLisa ColemanR.I.P.

Texas executes Lisa Coleman
Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:28


AP – Arlington woman executed for abused boy’s deathGuardian – Lisa Coleman executed by lethal injection after final appeal rejectedLAT – Texas executes woman after Supreme Court denies last-minute appealAdditional news links- – – – –

The S. Ct. Order in Coleman v. Stephens is at:


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Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014 | via Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Arlington woman executed for abused boy’s death

By Michael Graczyk | Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE — Lisa Coleman, an Arlington woman convicted of starving and torturing her girlfriend’s 9-year-old son to death a decade ago, was executed Wednesday evening.

Coleman, 38, received a lethal injection of pentobarbital about an hour after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-day appeal.

Coleman smiled and nodded to several friends and an aunt who watched through a window, thanking them and expressing her love. She also said she loved the other women on Death Row and urged them to “keep their heads up.”

“I’m all right,” she said. “Tell them I finished strong. God is good.”

She mouthed a kiss and laughed and nodded to her witnesses in the seconds before the lethal drug took effect.

“Love you all,” she said just before closing her eyes and taking a couple of short breaths. Then there was no further movement.

She was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m.

Coleman was the first woman from Tarrant County to be executed. Statewide this year, she was the ninth convicted killer and second woman to receive a lethal injection.

Nationally, she’s the 15th woman executed since the Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976. During that time, nearly 1,400 men have been put to death.

Coleman was condemned for the death of Davontae Williams, whose emaciated body was found in July 2004 in the Arlington apartment that Coleman shared with his mother, Marcella Williams.

Paramedics who found him dead said at her trial that they were shocked to learn his age. He weighed 36 pounds, about half the weight of a normal 9-year-old.

A pediatrician testified that he had more than 250 injuries, including burns from cigarettes or cigars and scars from ligatures, and that a lack of food made him stop growing.

“There was not an inch on his body that had not been bruised or scarred or injured,” said Dixie Bersano, one of the prosecutors.

Coleman’s trial attorneys said the boy’s death was an accident. They said that he may have had mental-health issues that made him hard to handle and that Coleman and Williams didn’t know how to deal with him.

After a Tarrant County jury sent Coleman to Death Row in 2006, Williams took a plea bargain and accepted a life sentence. Now 33, she’s not eligible for parole until 2044.

Coleman’s appeals lawyer, John Stickels, argued to the high court that while the child’s hands were tied with clothesline at times, it was “mostly a misguided means of discipline” used by both women.

Tarrant County prosecutors were incorrect to apply kidnapping to the charge, making it a capital murder case, he said. The jury’s conviction on that charge was also incorrect, Stickels contended.

Jefferson Clendenin, an assistant Texas attorney general, told the justices that Coleman’s arguments “had no merit.”

As of Jan. 1, 60 women were on Death Row in the United States, representing about 2 percent of the Death Row population, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington-based organization that opposes capital punishment.

Coleman’s execution leaves seven women on Death Row in Texas, none from Tarrant County. No men from Tarrant County have executions scheduled.

/ / / / /


Wednesday 17 September 2014 – 20.16 EDT | The Guardian

Lisa Coleman executed by lethal injection after final appeal rejected

Coleman, 38, was put to death in Texas for her role in the starvation death and torture of her partner’s nine-year-old son

by Tom Dart in Houston | theguardian.com

Lisa Coleman became the fifteenth American woman to be executed since 1976 when she was given a lethal injection in Texas on Wednesday evening for her role in the starvation death and torture of her partner’s nine-year-old son.

The US supreme court rejected Coleman’s final appeal for a stay earlier in the day. That cleared the path for the 38-year-old to be put to death using compounded pentobarbital from a supplier that Texas has refused to disclose, amid questions about its expiration date and quality.

Nearly 1,400 people have been executed in the US since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Even though women commit about 10% of all homicides they comprise 1% of inmates put to death, according to figures from the Death Penalty Information Centre. Only seven states – Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Alabama, North Carolina, Arkansas and Virginia – have executed female prisoners in the past three decades.

Court documents indicated that Davontae Williams had been restrained and repeatedly beaten before his death from malnutrition with pneumonia in July 2004. A pediatrician testified that the boy’s emaciated corpse showed more than 250 separate injuries, including burns and scars. A blood stain suggested he had been struck with a golf club.

Paramedics found his body at the home in an apartment complex in Arlington, near Dallas, that Coleman shared with her lover, Marcella Williams. He weighed less than 36 pounds (16.3 kg), about the average weight for a boy half his age.

Committing murder during a kidnapping is among the criteria which can raise a charge in Texas to capital murder. While not denying Coleman’s part in the crime, her attorneys had argued in appeals that she was innocent of capital murder because she did not kidnap the child by hiding him inside the apartment. They produced witnesses who testified that they had seen him outside on several occasions. But appeals courts decided that even though he was not taken from his home, Coleman had effectively kidnapped Davontae because he had been restrained and kept away from others.

Coleman’s trial defence team argued that the death was accidental and that she had endured a deeply troubled upbringing, including suffering physical and sexual assaults, which left her with psychological scars and little sense of how to behave appropriately towards a child in her care. Texas child protective services investigated the couple on several occasions but eventually lost track of them.

Marcella Williams was tried after Coleman, took a plea deal and was given a life sentence. The 33-year-old will be eligible for parole in 2044. Texas is by far the nation’s executions leader, with 517 inmates put to death in the past 32 years. That represents 37% of the national total, though Texas comprises about 8% of the US population. The state has carried out nine executions this year and has another eight scheduled between 15 October and 18 March. The three most recent executions of women in the US have been in Texas: Coleman, Suzanne Basso last February and Kimberly McCarthy in June last year. Seven women remain on Texas death row, including Linda Carty, a British citizen born on the Caribbean island of St Kitts.

In the death chamber, Coleman reportedly smiled and acknowledged friends and an aunt who were watching through a window, said she loved the other women on Texas’ death row and that they should “keep their heads up”. She mouthed an audible kiss and added: “I’m all right. Tell them I finished strong … God is good.” Shortly before she closed her eyes and stopped moving, she said, “Love you all.”

Coleman was pronounced dead at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, near Houston, at 6.24pm central time, 12 minutes after officials began to administer the lethal dose of the sedative.

– – – –

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

/ / / / /


September 18, 2014 | Los Angeles Times

Texas executes woman after Supreme Court denies last-minute appeal

by Michael Muskal

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Supreme Court rejects last-minute appeal of woman facing execution for torturing, starving a 9-year-old

– – –

Lisa Coleman, a 38-year-old Texas woman convicted of torturing and starving to death a friend’s 9-year-old son, was executed Wednesday evening after the U.S. Supreme Court denied her last-minute appeal.

Coleman was pronounced dead at 6:24 p.m. Central time, Texas officials said.

Her last words included, “I just want to tell my family I love them, my son, I love him. The girls on the row I love them and keep their heads up…. I’m done.”

She was the ninth person, and the second woman, to be executed in Texas this year.

In July 2004, Coleman was living in a Texas apartment with a friend, Marcella Williams, and her son, Davontae Williams. The child’s body weighed about 36 pounds, about half the normal weight of a 9-year-old child. Williams, 33, is serving a life sentence in prison for her role in the death.

Coleman’s trial lawyers argued that the death was an accident and the result of failed efforts to control and discipline the child.

Coleman’s current lawyer John Stickels argued that his client was incorrectly charged with a capital crime.

“The position of Lisa Coleman is that she is not guilty of a capital crime as required by Texas law and should not be executed,” he told the justices, according to the Associated Press.

Texas disagreed with that assessment, according to a 43-page brief opposing the requested delay in the execution.

Times staff writers Lauren Raab, Julie Westfall and Connie Stewart contributed to this Report.

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Follow @latimesmuskal for national news

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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From Eric Freedman:


Lisa Coleman Becomes The Sixth Woman Executed By Texas Since 1982

by Tasneem Nashrulla | BuzzFeed Staff and Claudia Koerner | BuzzFeed Staff

. . .

Coleman was executed at 6:24 p.m. CT, after making this final statement:

“I just want to tell my family I love them, my son, I love him. The girls on the row I love them and keep their heads up. Tell Darlie I love her, hand in hand. God bless y’all. I’m alright, tell them I finished strong. I love y’all, I’m done. I love you Richie. I love you. Thank you Brad and John, all of y’all. God is good, I love you Auntie. I’m done.”

Via Texas Department of Criminal Justice

. . .

/ / / / /


Texas Executes Woman for Murder of 9-Year-Old

by Elizabeth Barber

/ / / / /

Steve Hall

The StandDown Texas Project

PO Box 13475

Austin, TX 78711


NC Innocence Inquiry Commission a lifesaver for innocent, death row inmates


NC Innocence Inquiry Commission a lifesaver for innocent, death row inmates

…..Christine Mumma, executive director of the N.C. Center for Actual Innocence, mentioned some lessons learned from the exoneration of Henry McCollum. What the public needs to be aware of is that the horrible circumstances of injustice in the Buie case are a culture in North Carolina death penalty cases, not some isolated event. Maybe, if the Innocence Commission were to work in conjunction with appellate attorneys to defend their clients, 31-year prison terms by innocent men can be avoided. At the very least the commission can demonstrate what it means to be true representatives of justice.

Lyle C. May is a death row inmate at Central Prison in Raleigh. He received two death sentences for the 1997 double murder in Asheville of Valerie Sue Riddle and her son, Kelly Mark Laird Jr. ….

Read more…

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Death Row News to fight the Death Penalty – TX: Lisa Ann Coleman Executed


trauerkerzepassengerpigeon9314Death Row News to fight the Death Penalty – TX: Lisa Ann Coleman Executed.


Woman Executed for Boy’s 2004 Starvation Death
• by Terri Langford
• Sept. 17, 2014In 2004, Davontae Marcel Williams, on the left, was found starved to death. Lisa Ann Coleman, on the right, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday night for her role in the boy’s death. If carried out, she would be the sixth woman to be executed in Texas since 1982.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated after Lisa Ann Coleman’s execution.Texas death row inmate Lisa Ann Coleman was executed Wednesday night, the sixth woman put to death since the death penalty was reinstated in Texas.

Coleman, 38, was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2004 starvation death of her girlfriend’s son, Davontae Marcel Williams.

Before the lethal drug pentobarbital was injected into her inside the execution chamber…

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